The street where buses pass inches from terrified people's front doors

Residents on a road in the Rhondda Valleys say they fear for their safety as Stagecoach buses drive illegally on the pavement on a "daily" basis - just inches from their front doors. One resident on East Road in Tylorstown claims she was nearly ran over by one of the buses when she was stepping outside her house.

Another resident on the road has captured years' worth of CCTV footage appearing to show the buses mounting the pavement and driving along it. The clips, shared with WalesOnline, seem to show the bus drivers do this when the road is too narrow for two big vehicles to pass through, such as when two buses are passing at the same time.

The residents claim complaints have been made to Stagecoach, Rhondda Cynon Taf Council and South Wales Police for years and their local councillor and MP have even got involved - but nothing has improved. The most recent clip shared with WalesOnline shows a bus illegally driving along the pavement on Saturday, April 6. Stagecoach told WalesOnline that safety is "our top priority" and they intend to "fully investigate this matter". Meanwhile the council said it had raised concerns with the bus operator and that a formal investigation into these incidents was a police matter.

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'I had to jump back in'

East Road resident Alana Sargent, 41, who is a carer for family members and a community volunteer, has lived on the street for six years. "It's always happened, but it's getting worse now with the amount of traffic on the road," she said. "Generally, other people will pull up onto the pavement but stop, whereas Stagecoach don't stop - they continue to drive at speed past the houses, that close to the door...We’ve even had a double decker do it as well."

A bus appearing to drive along the pavement on April 6, 2024
A bus appearing to drive along the pavement on East Road on April 6, 2024 -Credit:David Wheatley

She alleged it is a daily occurrence. "Some will wait, some won’t. Generally, midday, when there's another bus coming down, that's when we get an issue," she said, adding that first thing in the morning, when bins were being collected, was also a problematic time. She claimed that she had been "nearly run over" by buses on the pavement "several times" and is worried it will take someone getting seriously injured, or even killed, before action is taken.

She added that when the mounted the pavement the buses were merely "a wing mirror width from the door". "I'm wondering if [the buses] actually going to come in for a cup of tea, I'll be honest. They are that close," she said.

She claims on May 11, 2022 she had a close call when one the buses nearly knocked her over just as she was stepping outside her front door. CCTV footage that appeared to show this incident was shared with WalesOnline. "I opened the door, I looked out. Thankfully, I looked to see that there was a bus coming, and I had to jump back in. That was when I started complaining," she said.

The moment when Alana was allegedly almost hit by a bus driving on the pavement outside her front door on May 11, 2022
The moment when Alana was allegedly almost hit by a bus driving on the pavement outside her front door on East Road on May 11, 2022 -Credit:David Wheatley

'He'd be dead'

Alana pointed out most of her neighbours were elderly, had mobility issues, or had children in pushchairs. She added her own family also had underlying health issues and mobility issues, with her son requiring the use of the wheelchair outside the house.

"However, he won’t use a chair along our bit of road, because of the buses," she said. She recalled another time she was allegedly nearly hit. "I had to jump into the doorway because the bus mounted the pavement as I was walking down the street. Now, if I had my son with me and he was in his chair, he wouldn't have had a chance in hell...he'd be dead."

She said her husband is also worried he will "not be able to get out of the way quick enough." "Several times I've nearly been run over, but I'm lucky enough that I can move out the way. My husband’s the same - he's opened the door a few times and a vehicle's gone flying past. So it's lucky that he's not stepped out," she said.

Alana claims the pavement outside her house has been damaged by the bus driving there
Alana claims the pavement outside her house on has been damaged by the bus driving there -Credit:David Wheatley

Aside from the near-misses, Alana also claims the repeated mounting of the buses on the pavement outside her house has damaged it. "The state of the path is all uneven. The paving slabs have dropped lower than the actual kerb edge," she said, claiming that this has caused water to pool into the area and "seep into the houses" when it rains.

Parked cars getting 'blamed'

In the CCTV footage, the road is narrow for two buses to fit through because there are cars parked on one side, opposite her house. "It's now got to a point that the blame is being pushed back onto the cars being parked, where they're legally parked," she claimed.

After Alana complained about the issue on X (formerly Twitter), a spokesperson for Stagecoach replied to her: "I have reported this to the depot but advise to contact the council as well regarding the parking on the street to allow buses to pass safely."

She said she asked the council to put bollards on the pavement to stop buses driving along it but they refused as it would "prevent accessibility". She is concerned double yellow lines will be painted along the road and limit parking for residents.

A bus appearing to drive on the pavement on February 6, 2024
A bus appearing to drive on the pavement on East Road on February 6, 2024 -Credit:David Wheatley

“There is nowhere else to park. If you come up the Valley from Pontygwaith all the way up, there are cars parked on one side of the road," she said. “If they're going to get rid of the parking opposite and stop the problem the whole way up the Valley...then that's two, three, maybe four miles of residents that won't be able to park their cars.

"[It] then means that nobody can park anywhere near their house. And there are a lot of people in the Rhonda that have got mobility issues." She added: "We've got no access to the rear of our property, so we can't even park the car around the back...the side street above us is chockablock, you wouldn't get parked up there, and the street below us, you wouldn't get parked there either.”

'It's a criminal offence'

Alana claimed that despite her local councillor having contacted South Wales Police about this issue for two years, nothing had improved. She said: "We've got the local policing team saying it's a 'caught in the act' [found committing offence], even though there's CCTV and photographic evidence of it happening.”

A bus appearing to drive on the pavement on East Road on November 4, 2022
A bus appearing to drive on the pavement on East Road on November 4, 2022 -Credit:David Wheatley

She added: "The Highway code does state when overtaking parked cars, if the obstruction is on your side of the road, you are supposed to wait until you can go. Now, if the obstruction is on the opposite side of the road as it is coming up, and there's someone already overtaking those parked cars, you're supposed to wait and let them continue through until you can pass safely and not drive on the pavement. It's actually a criminal offence. It's classed as dangerous driving...all I want is it to stop before someone gets hurt.

'Tearing past the houses at 20mph'

David Wheatley, Alana's neighbour on East Road, has captured all the alleged instances of Stagecoach buses mounting the pavement on this CCTV and shared the footage with WalesOnline. He described the buses as "tearing past" the houses at "20mph" merely a “mirror’s distance off the wall”.

“The only reason they're not any closer to the door is that the wing mirror will be ripped off on the wall. That’s how close they go," said David, who is a retired civil servant. He estimated the buses normally drive on the pavement for up to 200 yards before they come off.

He said there has been scaffolding recently that has prevented them from driving for so long along the pavement, but they still manage to drive past around six houses at the moment or 150 feet. He claims in January 2022 he contacted Stagecoach depot in Porth who assured they would put a stop to the illegal driving on the pavement - but to no avail.

Response from Stagecoach and council

Martin Gibbon, Managing Director for Stagecoach South Wales said: "Safety is our top priority and we have since arranged to fully investigate this matter following receipt of this complaint".

A spokesperson for Rhondda Cynon Taf Council said: "We fully understand the concerns raised by the community on this matter. When the Council was made aware of the footage, officers raised their concerns with the bus service operator – as driving in such a manner, on the pavement and very close to properties, is clearly unacceptable. Any formal investigation into these incidents, as with any instance of dangerous driving, would be the role of South Wales Police."

WalesOnline has approached South Wales Police for comment.