PLAID Cymru has called on the Welsh Government to rectify the lack of bus services to the Grange University Hospital.

Peredur Owen Griffiths MS, who represents the South Wales East region in the Senedd, said it was “deeply disappointing” the 21 service between Blackwood and the Grange University Hospital - which only started last July - stopped after Welsh Government funding ended.

The hourly service also called at Newbridge, Crumlin, Llanhilleth, Hafodyrynys, Pontypool and Griffithstown.

“This service was announced to great fanfare by the Labour government last summer and many backbenchers lauded its arrival,” Mr Griffiths said. “They have gone strangely quiet now the service is no more.

South Wales Argus: Peredur Owen Griffiths MS said it was 'deeply disappointing' the hourly service had been droppedPeredur Owen Griffiths MS said it was 'deeply disappointing' the hourly service had been dropped (Image: Stagecoach)

“As well as the long waits for treatment that have become synonymous with the Grange hospital, its inaccessibility has been one of the biggest complaints since it opened nearly four years ago.

“Reliable public transport serving this hospital is vital for the communities I represent given the low car ownership.

"The reality is many people will now have to catch at least two buses and spend a considerable amount of time getting to the hospital – whether for an appointment or to visit family or friends – if they do not have a car.

South Wales Argus: Mr Griffiths said public transport to the hospital was 'vital' given the low car ownership levelsMr Griffiths said public transport to the hospital was 'vital' given the low car ownership levels (Image: Peredur Owen Griffiths MS)

“That is unfair and I will be making representations on the matter.”

READ MORE: Stagecoach announce changes to bus services in Blaenau Gwent, Caerphilly, Torfaen

Speaking at First Minister’s Questions, the party’s other South Wales East MS, Delyth Jewell, said the cuts to bus services were having a “hugely detrimental effect”.

She said: “Lots of people in the valleys don’t drive, and to get from valley to valley they’re dependent on buses.

“A constituent has written to me to complain there’s no direct bus from Caerphilly town to the hospital. Their neighbour who doesn’t drive has been having to visit his wife in the Grange for three weeks by getting buses.

“They’ve had to catch two buses, and the journey apparently can take over an hour and a half, which is the last thing anyone would want when they’re visiting a sick loved one.

“It can’t be right that the biggest town in the country has no direct access to the main hospital – and there are towns across the south east that similarly have no bus route to the Grange.”

First minister Mark Drakeford said a "great deal of work" had gone into creating bus services to the Grange hospital, adding: "No commercial provider will provide such a service.

“So, while I absolutely recognise the point that Delyth Jewell has made about there being people who rely on the bus service, there clearly are not enough of them to persuade a commercial provider to put on a service directly from Caerphilly, or in the other instances that she has identified. So, any new service has to be subsidised by the public purse.”

A Stagecoach spokesperson told the Argus: "Stagecoach South Wales operated Service 21 from Blackwood to Cwmbran via the Grange Hospital on behalf of the Welsh Government.

"The funding for this service was withdrawn in January 7, 2024. From April 1, owing to a tender process, service 21 will have an additional evening journey from Blackwood to Cwmbran as well as a quicker, X21, direct service between Blackwood and Cwmbran, early morning and late evening."

Full details of service changes can be found here.