AN MP has welcomed efforts to improve public transport arrangements for sixth-formers in Monmouthshire and Torfaen, but said further improvements could be made.

As reported in the Argus, Gwent students who normally travel by rail to Hereford for further education had complained they were being turned away from trains – despite owning costly season tickets.

They also raised concerns about social-distancing measures on the chartered buses put on in place of the trains.


On Friday, Monmouth David Davies met with representatives from Transport for Wales, the company providing the students' rail and bus services.

He also heard from students and parents about their concerns regarding social distancing and the longer journey times that means some sixth-formers are arriving late for lessons.

Mr Davies said: “I can see the logic but fully understand why students are furious. They are being discriminated against and segregated from travelling on the train even though there is space.

“At present, the buses only go to the town centre instead of straight to Hereford Sixth Form and other colleges. If buses went to the college instead, it would save students a 15-minute walk and make up for some of the time lost.

"But this can’t be done because of a law which states that coaches replacing trains should only run to town centre bus stops and not direct to destinations.

“This is ridiculous and I have asked Welsh transport minister, Ken Skates, to waive the rule."

Following the students' concerns, which were also raised in the Senedd by two Gwent MSs, Transport for Wales announced a new morning train to help accommodate the extra demand. An extra carriage has also been added to a morning service.

Mr Davies suggested the firm could further help the students travelling on those services.

He said: "One carriage on both trains should therefore be reserved exclusively for students. This way they would remain within their 'bubble' and not be in contact with other members of the public, but many more would be able to travel.”

The Argus contacted Transport for Wales to ask if Mr Davies' suggestion was being considered.

A spokesman said the firm was "continuing to discuss a number of options which may help us further improve the experience and safety of students" and other passengers.

When possible, staff and British Transport Police officers acting as marshals on the platform were already trying to place students together in separate carriages, he added.