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Positive news for bus travellers

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THERE IS GOOD news for travellers as two well-known bus companies have recently introduced a new service from Aberystwyth to Birmingham.

Megabus announced last week that they have partnered with Aberystwyth-based company Mid Wales Travel to create a new bus service, the M39, which will take passengers from Aberystwyth to Birmingham.

The partnership will allow the M39 service to be a Mid Wales Travel vehicle, with Megabus branding inside, and will operate on Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays.

Travellers will benefit from the timetable, which will offer day and weekend trips to Birmingham and surrounding areas, with stops along the way including Welshpool, Telford, Shrewsbury and Wolverhampton.

From Birmingham, the service will include stops such as London and Liverpool, allowing more links for the student community and local residents.

If that was not enough motivation to use the new service, travellers will benefit from its low fares, which start at £1 with a booking fee of 50p.

Of the new service, Mel Evans, who owns Mid Wales Travel, said: “We are pleased to be continuing our partnership with Megabus.com with our new M39 service from Aberystwyth to Birmingham.

We hope local residents will find this a low cost, convenient travel option to Birmingham and the other stops we’re offering on the route.”

The partnership between Megabus and Mid Wales Travel has already been successful over the last 12 months as both companies have worked together to form the M7 service, which currently operates from Aberystwyth to London via Cardiff.

The Herald took to the streets this week to find out what Aberystwyth residents thought about the upcoming bus service.

One resident said: “I think this is a really good idea, especially with today’s economy and high travel prices. I was amazed to hear the low prices and, though I felt sceptical about it, I have a feeling that it will be very successful. I wish both Mid Wales Travel and Megabus the best of luck with it!”

Another person told The Herald: “I will be very curious to see how this works. I hope it does, but I have a feeling that it is all positive words and figures until both companies deliver an evidently good service. When Traws Cymru introduced the free weekend bus travel a few months ago, I thought that was a good idea.

“The more I learnt and heard people’s experiences with it, the more I feel any travel idea that the council or travel companies put forward is great but what they deliver is more important. As the old saying goes, the proof is in the pudding.

“I used to travel regularly on the Megabus but now, I travel more frequently on Mid Wales Travel services. I think the quality of travel is very good for both companies, so I certainly hope the plans work out for them and their customers.”

A student studying at the local university added: “I really think this is a fantastic scheme for everyone, especially for students such as myself. With students surviving on very little money from loans these days, due to the high university fees and the way the economy is in today’s society, I think many students will benefit from it.

“I’m from London and so it’s great to think that the service will not only be low in price, but I will also have the option of the other stops along the way.

“On some weekends, when I want a break from University work, I like to travel to Aberaeron and even Carmarthen on the Traws Cymru services because of the free travel scheme.

“Initially, I didn’t think it would work that well as I expected huge numbers of people every weekend crowding the bus, but considering it is a very well used scheme I know that Megabus and Mid Wales will do well with the M39.

“My thoughts are, if the Traws Cymru services are doing well from the free weekend travel scheme, then I know the M39 will do exceptionally well because of the high demand for that service.

“It is so important to cater to the target audiences, and in the case of Megabus and MidWales travel, I would think students and residents of the designated stops would be the answer.

“From my experience of being an Aberystwyth student, there is nothing worse than living in quite a remote place but yet having limited ways of travelling home, with the only options you do have being very expensive.

“My friends always say the same thing and with train fares continuously going up, buses are the alternative option for non-drivers. So I know they will be pleased with this news!

“All in all, I believe that students and keen travellers will enjoy the benefits from the M39 service, and I look forward to seeing how successful it will turn out to be.”

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Ceredigion dog breeder fined for failing to comply with dog breeding licence

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A CROWN COURT has upheld a conviction that the dogs under the care of Mr. Jones were kept in overcrowded conditions in contravention of the minimum space standards required by the license conditions.

Other convictions were overturned.

On 27 November 2020, and 22December 2020, the Crown Court heard an appeal by Mr. Dorian Wyn Jones, of Dorwan Kennels, Penrheol, Talsarn, relating to convictions for failing to comply with dog breeding licence conditions. 

Mr. Dorian Wyn Jones had previously been convicted at Aberystwyth Magistrates Court of running a licenced dog breeding establishment far in access of the number allowed on his licence and that the dogs in his care were kept in overcrowded conditions.

The Court heard evidence that Mr Dorian Wyn Jones had been granted a licence for 33 dogs. However, during a visit undertaken by Ceredigion County Council’s Public Protection Officers on the 07 August 2019, they found 91 dogs at the premises excluding puppies, in breach of his license. The dogs were kept in pens of a size that were inadequate for the number of dogs kept within them.

On 9 February 2021, Dorian Jones was fined £1000 for the overcrowding offence, and ordered to pay legal costs amounting to £2500. 

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Prince Philip, The Duke of Edinburgh, dies aged 99

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The Duke of Edinburgh, the Queen’s ‘strength and stay’ for 73 years, has died aged 99.

Prince Philip’s health had been slowly deteriorating for some time. He announced he was stepping down from royal engagements in May 2017, joking that he could no longer stand up. He made a final official public appearance later that year during a Royal Marines parade on the forecourt of Buckingham Palace.

Since then, he was rarely seen in public, spending most of his time on the Queen’s Sandringham estate in Norfolk, though moving to be with her at Windsor Castle during the lockdown periods throughout the Covid-19 pandemic and where the couple quietly celebrated their 73rd wedding anniversary in November 2020. He also celebrated his 99th birthday in lockdown at Windsor Castle.

The duke spent four nights at King Edward VII hospital in London before Christmas 2019 for observation and treatment in relation to a “pre-existing condition”.

Despite having hip surgery in April 2018, he attended the wedding of Prince Harry and Meghan Markle a month later and was seen sitting beside the Queen at a polo match at Windsor Great Park in June. He and the Queen missed Prince Louis of Cambridge’s christening in July 2018, but he was seen attending Crathie Kirk near Balmoral in August, and driving his Land Rover in the surrounding Scottish countryside in September.

It is expected that flags on landmark buildings in Britain will be lowered to half-mast as a period of mourning is announced.

The First Minister of Wales, Mark Drakeford has expressed his sadness on the news of the death of His Royal Highness The Duke of Edinburgh and offered condolences to Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II and the Royal family on behalf of the Welsh Government.

He said: “It is with sadness that we mourn the death of His Royal Highness The Duke of Edinburgh. Throughout his long and distinguished life, he served the crown with selfless devotion and generosity of spirit.

We offer our sincere condolences to Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II, his children and their families on this sad occasion.

He will be missed by the many organisations that he supported as Patron or President over many decades of service”.Andrew RT Davies, the Leader of the Welsh Conservatives in the Senedd, has led tributes to Prince Philip, Duke of Edinburgh, whose death was announced today.

In light of the sad news from Buckingham Palace, campaigning has been paused with immediate effect.

Mr Davies said: “This is a very sad day for the United Kingdom.
“The Duke of Edinburgh led a remarkable life, excelled himself with his career in the Royal Navy, was the strength and stay to Her Majesty The Queen, and has left a legacy to the nation through the Duke of Edinburgh Award.

“Dutiful, devoted, and diligent, his like will never be seen again, and Welsh Conservatives offer their deepest condolences to The Queen, and the rest of the Royal Family.”

Adam Price, leader of Plaid Cymru said: “On behalf of Plaid Cymru, I send my condolences to Her Majesty the Queen and her family. Many young people in Wales will have benefited from the Duke of Edinburgh’s award scheme, a reflection of many decades of his public service. Thoughts are with the Royal Family at this time.”

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Elin Jones calls for a plan to revive Aberystwyth town centre

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AS NON-ESSENTIAL retail re-opens on April 12, many of larger shops in Aberystwyth town centre will not be re-opening, with head offices scaling back on their presence on high streets across the UK.

In Aberystwyth, their absence will be particularly obvious with many of these retailers being located along Great Darkgate Street. Multiple retailers such as Burton, Dorothy Perkins, Clinton Cards, Edinburgh Woolen Mill, M&Co and Lloyds Pharmacy will not be reopening leaving a large proportion of empty properties.

These closures are in stark contrast to many independent retailers on Aberystwyth’s other streets looking to expand or start.

Commenting on this issue, Elin Jones said: “It’s time for a major rethink for Aberystwyth’s Great Darkgate Street.

“The multiple larger retailers are turning their back on our town centre and now we need to re-focus these large premises in order to make them more attractive and accessible to independent, local businesses. There have been smaller independent shops opening along other streets in Aberystwyth and throughout Ceredigion, so there is definitely businesses who could be persuaded to have a presence on the high street.

‘It would be great to see a partnership effort in the town to persuade the absentee landlords to give rent-free start up opportunities, to re-purpose the larger premises to suit smaller businesses and to ensure the buildings look attractive on the street.

‘Welsh Government has confirmed that no rates will need to be paid for this whole financial year and therefore now is a great opportunity to support small local businesses to reclaim their place on Great Darkgate Street.

‘It is the town’s largest street and needs to be a star attraction in Ceredigion.’

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