20mph speed limit causing 'severe' issues and 'reduced punctuality' as village gets cut off from bus services

20mph speed limit causing 'severe' issues and 'reduced punctuality' as village gets cut off from bus services

'Mr Loophole' Nick Freeman on 20mph speed limit roads

Felix Reeves

By Felix Reeves

Published: 12/01/2024

- 13:29

Updated: 12/01/2024

- 13:30

Arriva said the overall bus service was taking too long as a result of reduced speed limits across the network

Residents in a Welsh village have slammed a bus company for leaving them without a running service after its local route was cut because of the new 20mph speed limit.

Local residents in the Denbighshire village of Llandegla have criticised Arriva for axing the only bus stop in the area under new timetable changes.

It has been claimed that the bus company is making changes to account for the longer journeys as a result of the 20mph speed limits, with new changes set to launch on January 14.

The Welsh Government became the first country in the UK to make the default speed limit on restricted roads 20mph as most roads saw a drop from 30mph.


The new 20mph speed limits were launched in September last year


Residents of Llandegla are now calling on the bus company to perform a U-turn and prevent the village from being cut off when timetables change in the coming days.

Sandra Ellis Ross, community councillor in Llandegla, spoke to Jeremy Vine on BBC Radio 2 and said the villagers are being put in danger as a result of the bus timetable changes.

She highlighted how people living in the village would need to walk up a steep hill to reach the A525 main road to catch the X51 bus going towards Denbigh or Wrexham.

Complaints have been made that the route to the new bus stop is dangerous with no pavement, street lighting or waiting area when getting a bus.

The 20mph speed limits were introduced on September 17 and were met with fierce resistance from drivers who claimed it would make their journeys take longer and increase the rate of traffic.

Wendy Spears, a local resident in Llandegla, outlined the “irony” of having the bus stop axed from the route, saying that the village has had a 20mph speed limit for a long time.

She claimed: “We think this is a really ill-considered decision from Arriva. They didn’t highlight to us, they haven’t consulted with us, with the community council or villagers or any bus users that this was going to be brought in.

“We’ve had very little opportunity to come back to Arriva and ask them what their consultation process has been. Because we found out about it just before Christmas we feel this has gone under the radar and it's really unsustainable for village life here for us to not have a bus route.

“We feel we are being penalised by Arriva saying they’re looking to find back those minutes. We’re being penalised when we’ve always been 20mph.

“We would urge Arriva to find some other solutions if indeed they are going to change the timetable and have us understand what the options are.”

According to the Royal Society for the Prevention of Accidents, being hit by a car going between 30 and 40mph, the risk of pedestrian death is 5.5 times higher than at speeds between 20 to 30mph.

Although the new speed limits were introduced in September, police forces around the country will only begin to enforce the new rules in January 2024.

The “grace period” offered to drivers was to help them get used to the changes with help from the Welsh GoSafe road safety organisation.

A spokesperson for Arriva Wales told GB News: “The withdrawal of this service in Llandegla is due to the impact of 20mph on the 51 and X51 services. To be clear this is not to say that Llandegla and its speed limits are the issue but now the service overall is taking longer to operate due to reduced speeds across the network.


Arriva sign

Arriva said the overall bus service was taking too long as a result of reduced speed limits across the network


"The consequences of this change in speed have been severe and have caused increased lost mileage and reduced punctuality. We have been open in raising our concerns with Transport for Wales, the Welsh Government and local authorities. There have also been press statements and questions raised in the Senedd about this on the basis of our concerns and the consequences.

"As a response to reducing the speed of buses there are these options to reduce frequency: speed up buses by withdrawing the service from an area or increase the amount of resources in the bus service.

“This service is already operating at a low frequency and there is no funding to support increased resources going into services so we have had to amend the route with the time saved by not operating in the village. This time has been reinvested into the service to help it operate to time. These changes have taken place based upon a review of patronage and estimated time savings."

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