A regular and reliable bus service is a lifeline for those without a car, or those who want to do their bit to help the environment. Many in Pant will fall into one or both of those categories.
Unfortunately, it can take some dedication to use the bus in Shropshire. Buses after 6:30pm are rare sightings, buses on a Sunday even rarer – not even Shrewsbury fares much better on a Sunday.
Although Pant is in England, we are dependent on the Welsh government subsidy for the buses we do have.
For the last year, the only service has been the Trawscymru T12 service, averaging every two hours or less. As of April 2021 it again does the full journey from Machynlleth to Wrexham – although the free Saturday bus is probably a thing of the past. From Pant it is 10 minutes to Oswestry, half an hour to the Orthopaedic hospital and an hour to Wrexham.
Want to catch a train? The 74 goes once a day to Shrewsbury, there are no services to Gobowen, although you could catch a train from Welshpool or Ruabon using the T12. So much for integrated transport!
The Welsh government also subsidises the 72 service from Llanfyllin which, it has just been announced, is due to restart in July and will serve Pant. The timetable is available here and, dovetailing with the T12, gives us a bus to Oswestry at least once an hour in the morning.
Interestingly, the Welsh government have put a freeze on all new roads for a consultation period, and are considering a 20mph speed limit through all residential areas. These measures would greatly improve our village for all residents – perhaps Highways England and/or Shropshire Council will do the same.
According to a recent report by CPRE, the Campaign for the Protection of Rural England, every village in England could have an hourly, free bus service by redirecting just a portion of the funding planned for the government’s £27 billion road-building schemes.
You also need some local knowledge to catch our buses. Going towards Oswestry there are marked stops at the Cross Guns, bottom of Tregarthen Lane and bottom of School Lane, as well as Llynclys crossroads. Travelling away from Oswestry? Stand opposite the other stop and wave the bus down. Timetables can be found online with a bit of effort – try searching for the bus companies or the service numbers and don’t rely on printed timetables.
We are warned that the 72 is a ‘use it or lose it’ service – to keep our bus service, take the bus if you can.