Gwendraeth Valley bus routes saved but end of the road for firm
SCHOOLCHILDREN from four Gwendraeth Valley villages have been saved from finding their own way to school after a bus company folded.
Ysgol Maes y Gwendraeth pupils from Tumble, Drefach, Llechyfedach and Cross Hands were almost left with no transport to school last week, after Tumble-based bus company Gwyn Williams and Sons Ltd ceased trading on Friday.
But Carmarthenshire Council said it had to react quickly to ease the effect on more than 250 pupils.
Gwyn Williams was operating six school or college bus runs on behalf of the authority, as well as to three commercial bus services carrying fare-paying children to Ysgol Maes y Gwendraeth.
The council's passenger transport unit had to act fast to get replacement buses, after only finding out two days before the closure. Executive board member for transport services Colin Evans said: "It has been a remarkable achievement by the officers concerned to ensure replacements were found for the school and college bus runs.
"These have to be provided as the authority has a statutory duty to provide certain services."
But the authority does not have to provide fare paying bus services.
The council was concerned that no operators would be able to take on the three fare paying services to Ysgol Maes y Gwendraeth, numbered 107, 108 and 109.
Mr Evans said these runs were not funded by the authority and were outside of the council's statutory obligations but had been provided by Gwyn Williams Coaches for some years.
He said: "In these circumstances it is the parent's responsibility to arrange and fund transport to and from school.
"We were concerned that no other operators would have had the capacity to provide services 107, 108 and 109, but we are very glad that Brodyr Williams of Upper Tumble has been able to step in at such short notice.
"We are also grateful to the various other operators who have taken on the school contracts for being able to take over these runs at such short notice and ensure disruption to the users."
Director Graham Williams said the company was forced to close because it could not afford to remain open.