29 September 2000

Travel links fail Wales

THE Farmers Union of Wales claims that a survey of Welsh public transport proves the governments call for rural dwellers to switch to public transport is unfeasible and impractical.

As part of its campaign for a cut in fuel taxes, the union checked how the seven members of its finance and organisation committee could get to a 10am meeting in Aberystwyth by bus and train.

FUW president Bob Parrys 100 mile trip from Anglesey – taking almost three hours in a car – would involve spending five hours 38 minutes on a train journey. The earliest he could arrive in the day was 12.50pm.

It would take almost six hours for deputy president Glyn Powell to travel the 63 miles from his home at Sennybridge in Powys by bus. Because the earliest arrival time is 1.40pm, he like Mr Parry would have to arrive a day early. A four-hour train journey and an overnight stay would also replace vice-president Terry Baylisss normal two-hour trip from Abergavenny.

But the longest marathon would face Lorraine Howells as she travelled from Rhymney in Gwent. Instead of spending two hours 30 minutes in her car she would have to set off the day before and spend six hours 30 mins on trains.

"The FUW exercise clearly shows that it is virtually impossible for people to keep appointments in large areas of Wales without a car," said Mr Parry. "Poor public transport means that cars are essential." &#42