REACTION: How the Arriva strike is impacting Gwynedd and Anglesey passengers

RESIDENTS in Gwynedd and Anglesey have been sharing their thoughts on the five-week strike among Arriva bus drivers in North Wales which began last weekend.

Roughly 400 Arriva drivers working at depots including Amlwch, Bangor, Hawarden, Llandudno, Rhyl and Wrexham, are currently striking continuously from 6am on Sunday, November 14 until 1am on Sunday, December 19.

Workers are in dispute with the company regarding their pay rates and working conditions, with a number of offers made by Arriva having been voted down when taken to a ballot by the trade union Unite the Union.

Jasmin Silence, 19, said she has been able to attend college this week, with the train fares from Valley to Bangor unaffordable.

Jasmin said: “It (the alternative) is usually the train, but it’s £9.60 for a return every day. That’s beyond expensive for me.

“I get a free bus ticket from college, but if that doesn’t work, I pay £3.50. It’s a massive amount of money that I’m saving with the bus.

“I haven’t been going in at all (this week) because I just can’t afford to get to college. I’ve explained that it’s far too expensive.

“I’m training to be a hairdresser, so nearly every day, I’ll be doing clients in college; people come in and get their hair done.

“There’s no experience for me on my side; it’s full on from college, so I’m missing quite a lot.”

Lauren, a resident who typically used Arriva’s Bangor to Llandudno route, said: “There are so many people that rely on the bus service for work or to see loved ones in homes, etc.

“I’ve spoken to a few people that can’t get to hospital appointments due to the strike, or even people that need to go to the job centre to sign on that could lose their money, as getting a train means they will be late with having to change trains in Llandudno Junction.

“I really do wish the drivers get the pay they deserve; I just wish it would be solved sooner rather than later.”

Shirley Sullivan took to the Chronicle Facebook to support the drivers striking, writing: “They are only asking for a better pay, and do deserve it.

“Everyone should be paid for a proper living wage, and they have a lot of responsibility and work long hours. Good luck to all the bus drivers.”

Though, Joanne Thomas shared the difficulties which she has faced since the strike began, saying that she has been: “Struggling to go to hospital appointments with (her) granddaughter, which I had to get a hospital taxi (to).

“To me, someone who was in more need could have had that.

“Not everyone has a car, and also the elderly like to get out of the house for a couple of hours by using buses.

“I can understand the point in striking but up to the run-up to Christmas, the boss should see it from the drivers’ point as well.”

Similarly, Ruth Purton wrote: “Kids can’t get to school or college, NHS staff and students can’t get to work, patients can’t get to appointments. Nightmare.

“(I) agree with the reason for the strike; I totally get it, but the timing is rubbish.”

Roughly 2,000 Arriva drivers across north-west England also voted in favour of strike action, though this has since been suspended.

Recent figures show the UK’s cost of living rose by an average of 3.1 per cent in the last 12 months, with the Bank of England predicting that this figure could rise above four per cent by December and stay that high until next spring.

If you would like to share how the Arriva strike is affecting you, email matthew.chandler@newsquest.co.uk.

North Wales Chronicle | Anglesey