New buses diverted to Cardiff Airport
New buses purchased for an upgrade of TrawsCymru long-distance services in West Wales will be deployed instead on an experimental shuttle service for Cardiff Airport, Transport Network can reveal.
The change of deployment for the buses was requested by first minister Carwyn Jones following the Welsh Government buying the airport in March for £52m.
Vale of Glamorgan council is tendering for an operator for the limited-stop service, due to operate every 20 minutes between the city centre and the airport near Barry, from early next month.
Ceredigion CC officers have been informed that new vehicles purchased for the T1 and T5 long-distance services in West Wales will be used for a six-month trial of the airport service.
Cardiff Bus is about to withdraw its Sunday X91 airport services due to lack of demand, while continuing its two-hourly service the rest of the week. The airport’s annual passenger numbers have fallen below one million, from two million in 2007.
A Welsh Government spokesperson said: ‘The transport minister is currently considering how to improve long distance bus services in Wales and will report back on this in due course. The minister will also be making an announcement on the new Cardiff Airport bus service once the tender process is completed.’
It is understood that transport minister Edwina Hart has commissioned a TrawsCymru review by Victoria Winckler, director of the Bevan Foundation think tank. Ms Winckler is due to visit all local authorities between 1 July and mid-August, according to regional transport consortium Tracc.
Plans by previous transport minister Carl Sargeant to upgrade TrawsCymru were partially thwarted by Arriva, which registered key routes as commercial operations. It abandoned one after seven months, and a Statutory Quality Partnership has been discussed for another.