FOR A WEBSITE CALLED Fishguard Trains, WE SEEM TO COVER MORE THAN OUR SHARE OF BUS STORIES
The latest tarmac saga starts as the final connecting train of the evening leaves Carmarthen with a Fishguard Trains team member on board.
Here’s his report:
The Conductor comes through the train inspecting tickets: Seeing mine, she says I’ll have to speak to you later.
That’s exciting I say.
Nothing bad, she says cheerfully, as she continues down the carriage.
After Whitland she returns: When you get to Clarbeston Road you have to go off the platform up to the road. There’s no train. It’s a bus.
I ask why?
There’s no staff. They booked someone in who’s on the sick.
She does not look impressed.
How many are on for Fishguard?
About 5 or 6 – in fact there were four for Fishguard.
At Clarbeston Road, dramatically dark and threatening rain, the conductor leaves the train, even leaves the station. She’s probably breaking every rule in the ATW Rule Book, but she comes up to the road with the Fishguard passengers. She knows that one of us is on crutches, and this may not be easy.
No bus to be seen. Four of us plus the conductor are just starting to wonder, when a minibus comes into view. Relief.
If you’re on crutches, it’s a struggle to mount the steep steps up into the bus. What would they have done with someone in a wheelchair? We’re all safely on board, the Conductor bids us a cheery farewell and returns to the station, and our driver sets off – towards Carmarthen.
After a mile or two, I can’t stay silent any longer.
Driver, where are you going?
But this is the road to Carmarthen.
It’s the only road I know. I’m doing the bus company a favour. They didn’t have a driver. Phoned me up and said take this bus to Clarbeston Road. I was lucky to see the turning on the A40.
And so back to the A40 is where we are all heading – not far from Canaston Bridge on the way to Carmarthen.
When you turned the bus at Clarbeston Road, that was the road to Fishguard. You could have asked us.
I didn’t think. This isn’t my job.
Fishguard Trains‘ verdict
GOOD THAT the train conductor accompanied passengers up to the road to see them safely on board.
GOOD THAT the volunteer bus driver did the bus company a favour by turning out when they were just as short staffed as ATW.
BAD THAT they didn’t bother to brief the driver on his route, in a place he didn’t know.
BAD THAT despite being funded by Welsh taxpayers up to £1.4m a year, this is how Arriva delivers the Fishguard service.