THE Barry bus interchange has been opened at a difficult time for buses - that’s the admission of the Vale Council as political parties question where the buses for the £2.7 million transport interchange are.

Work on the bus interchange, opposite Barry Docks station, began in January, with Vale of Glamorgan Council’s cabinet member for sustainable places, Cllr Bronwen Brooks, saying at the time: “I think it will make a huge impact. You can bring all of those forms of travel together so that people can come here to the hub and then travel on to where they want to go."

Cllr Brooks also said the council had “hit the ground running”.

But that initial momentum has ground to a halt, with no buses currently using the interchange.

The council now say in the short term they are looking at the interchange being used by Transport for Wales rail replacement services.

Vale Council is also hopeful residential developments in the area will help generate commercial interest from the local bus operators serving Barry.

Penarth Times: The impressive new interchangeThe impressive new interchange (Image: Newsquest)

Penarth Times: It cost £2.7m to buildIt cost £2.7m to build (Image: Newsquest)

‘A ridiculous situation’

Life for the impressive interchange opposite Barry Docks station wasn’t meant to start like this.

Mayor of Barry Ian Johnson described the interchange as “beautiful”, but asked: “where’s the buses?”

Now, Welsh Conservative shadow transport minister Natasha Asghar has weighed in on the situation, describing it as “ridiculous”.

“For them to blow £3 million at a time when councils are pleading poverty, is unacceptable, but sadly also very typical from Labour in Wales,” she said.

Penarth Times: Sadly, there are currently few buses using the infrastructureSadly, there are currently few buses using the infrastructure (Image: Newsquest)

Plaid Cymru group leader, and Barry mayor, Cllr Johnson, said the drop in bus use was well known before the construction of the interchange began.

“There is nothing new about the drop in passengers following Covid-19,” said Cllr Johnson.

“That was known well before the construction of the bus station earlier this year.”

Penarth Times: Cllr Johnson questions, where's the buses?Cllr Johnson questions, where's the buses? (Image: Supplied)

A Vale of Glamorgan Council spokesperson explained the current situation with the transport interchange.

“Unfortunately, the interchange has been completed at a very difficult time for the bus industry," they said.

“Reductions in government funding, reduced post-pandemic passenger numbers, and a shortage of drivers have all contributed to reductions in bus services.  

“In the short term the new interchange will be used for Transport for Wales rail replacement services while upgrades to the local train network are undertaken.

“The council is also in discussions with local bus providers to see if the new interchange can be incorporated into any existing routes.  

“In the longer term, as new residential developments in the area are completed, we anticipate there will be a commercial interest from the local bus operators that currently serve Barry and we still expect the interchange to come into regular use.”

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