Sunday bus services on key routes in Caerphilly have become hourly, thanks to passenger growth since a revamp in 2011.
Five years ago, to make a saving of almost 18%, Caerphilly CBC focused resources on three core routes, introducing additional services to create regular two-hourly frequency. Some lesser-used routes were improved but others were abolished.
Growth on the core routes, running into Cardiff and Newport, then bucked the overall downward trend in Welsh bus patronage.
Bus company Stagecoach has now decided to operate one route commercially on Sundays, with hourly frequency. Caerphilly is providing “de minimis” payments (where competitive tendering is not required) to extend the service’s operating hours.
Some Sunday routes have been retendered, with the council taking the revenue risk, and the council is planning marketing and ticketing initiatives.
Hourly frequency on the three core routes is expected to be more attractive to leisure travellers than the previous two-hourly services.
Huw Morgan, leader of Caerphilly’s integrated transport unit, said the hourly services had been achieved despite a required £124,000 annual budget saving, starting this year.
About £50,000 of the saving came from reduced de minimis payments for minor route variations on weekdays and Saturdays. ‘We’ve tried to target things that aren’t going to have too much of a detrimental effect on the passenger,’ he said.