Council's revised bus plan boosts numbers despite cuts


Caerphilly CBC has seen major passenger growth on its Sunday tendered services since it revised the timetables in 2011 to reduce subsidy by nearly 18%.

The 46% increase in passengers, comparing the same Sunday in August 2011 and August 2014, bucks the downward trend in Welsh bus patronage as a whole over the same period - coinciding as it did with a large reduction in Welsh Government bus funding to local authorities and operators.

The council's main source of passenger growth comes from a focus on improving services to the main cities, giving them two-hourly services. This has resulted in more fare-paying passengers travelling to and from Cardiff and Newport - both cities outside Caerphilly’s boundary.

Huw Morgan, leader of Caerphilly’s integrated transport unit, said he hoped operators would also double service frequency to hourly.

‘The two-hourly bus frequency is a lot better than we’ve had before [on Sundays], but some people would be put off with a two-hourly service,’ he said.

He also highlighted that the authority had made efforst to market the revamped Sunday network, producing a leaflet and placing information prominently on the council website.

‘There needs to be a lot of effort to get the information to the public, local members and community councils,’ he said.

On the downside, many communities within Caerphilly still have no Sunday buses but Mr Morgan said that spreading the resources thinly to provide a comprehensive Sunday network would have jeopardised the growth which has occurred on the main routes.

The council is now preparing for another cut in its overall government grant, and may depend on bus operators to sustain the momentum by taking on the main Sunday services as commercial operations.

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