BUS SERVICES TO BE PROPPED-UP WITH CREST & COUNCIL-TAX CASH

Two Cardiff Bus services to and from Penarth are to receive public funding from the Vale of Glamrogan Council

Two Cardiff Bus services to and from Penarth are to receive public funding from the Vale of Glamorgan Council

Cash from Penarth Heights developers Crest Nicholson, from  Vale of Glamorgan and Penarth council-tax payers is to be used to underwrite bus services which don’t attract enough passengers to cover their costs.

CARDIFF BUS No 95A CARDIFF TO PENARTH

One of the two services to be part publicly-funded is the existing Cardiff Bus No 95a Cardiff to Penarth service which, up to now, hasn’t been subsidised.

The Vale Council’s ruling ‘cabinet’ is entering into a deal with Cardiff Bus to re-schedule the existing  No 95a service and re-route it to serve the Penarth Heights residential development at an annual cost of £60,696. 

The council says that “initially” Section 106 funds from Crest Nicholson will be used to  “support” this expanded service . [‘Section 106’ money is an agreed premium paid to councils by developers as part of project planning permission and has to be spent locally on mitigating the effects of the development]  There will be a “further review “of the service in the Spring of next year.   The contract with  Cardiff Bus will be a “de-minimus contract“- which means that either party can pull out of it at any time without being sued.

CARDIFF BUS No 91 Cardiff/Penarth Pier/Cosmeston Weekends only 

The No 91 service from Cardiff drives past the Pier Pavilion bus stop on Saturday - heading for Cosmeston. Councillors heard allegations that publicity material had not arrived on time

‘Running on Empty”.  The No 91 service from Cardiff without any passenger aboard sails past the Pier Pavilion bus stop where there were no timetables and no passengers  – heading for Cosmeston. Councillors heard allegations that publicity material had not arrived on time

Meanwhile another bus service, the summer weekend-only hourly Cardiff Bus No 91 “Cardiff to Penarth Pier/Cosmeston route”  is also being “re-scheduled” at additional cost to council-tax payers.

The No 91 route was initiated by the Vale of Glamrogan Council  and started in May last year . A month later it was extended at short notice to run to Cosmeston at the initiative of the council . There was criticism last year when it was established six of the fourteen daily No.91 services did not travel the entire route to Cardiff but stopped at Penarth Marina leaving through-passengers having to  kick their heels until the next bus arrived.

Passengers were also confused as to just where the “Penarth Marina” bus stop was located and  timetables had to be clarified to make it clear it was at the Custom House.

The extended No 91 bus service was "launched" by Cllr Lis Burnett (front row centre) earlier this week but starts on Sunday July 5th

The extended No 91 bus service was “launched” by Cllr Lis Burnett (front row centre)  in June and started on Sunday July 5th 2015

When the extended No 91 service  began, the Vale Council’s service dates didn’t tally with those of Cardiff Bus, there was  inadequate publicity, very low passenger take up and a lack of timetable information at bus stops.In some cases the timetables had not been installed, or were removed or obscured by other information sheets.

The service was debated in a meeting of Penarth Council ( see PDN http://tinyurl.com/jpmqgyw ) and on July 8th 2015 Cllr Anthony Ernest (Conservative Plymouth Ward) publicly listed a number of failings  (See PDN http://tinyurl.com/hazuzoo ).

This year the additional cost of the revised service – amounting to £8,845  is to be split between the Vale of Glamorgan Council’s public transport budget  and Penarth Town Council which has had its contribution capped at £4,422. All the money ultimately comes from council tax-payers.

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3 Responses to BUS SERVICES TO BE PROPPED-UP WITH CREST & COUNCIL-TAX CASH

  1. Ian Perry says:

    What is often reported as “subsidy” for public transport, in fact saves local authority money, by limiting the ever increasing demand for expensive increases in road and parking capacity for private vehicles.

    Clearly, people prefer to use their cars over public transport because what is being offered by public transport is inferior to the advantages of travelling by private car – despite congestion and parking issues in our region.

    The reasons for choosing the private car are varied. But buses – and it’s being reported this week that bus ridership in Wales is dropping at an alarming rate – need to offer a better service. Our bus stops are shambolic, and often dirty and smelly. The new bus kerbs are installed incorrectly, so rarely does a bus stop with its door within 5cm of a straightening kerb allowing comfortable and easy access for all. The tactile paving on these kerbs, for people who are blind or partially sighted tends to inform people where to step off the kerb in order to walk into the side of the bus – whereas, in England, generally, tactile paving is used to inform people as to where the door of the bus will be… Transport for London, also use the flag pole to signal to bus drivers and passengers where the bus door should be located – but this is Wales… So we don’t do sensible things here…

    I have met with those responsible for bus stops, and can assure readers, that £120 bus kerbs will continue to be installed so that they offer little or no benefit for users. Standard kerbs cost just £5, and can be installed at higher levels at bus stops, in conjunction with standard tactile paving, to REDUCE COSTS and IMPROVE ACCESS FOR ALL to buses. Sorry I shouted… I realise that deaf ears at the council will not read as they do not listen.

    Then there are the route choices, the frequency of services, particularly in the evenings and the fares. With so few paying passengers, perhaps we need to look at making bus use free for all at the point of service?

    I could write more. But having studied bus stops in great detail, I find that my skills, abilities and knowledge are resented in Wales – and we will continue to provide poor services for the people of Wales and waste money. If we spent money carefully, we’d have better bus stops and perhaps would not need a 3.9% hike in council tax to continue to build things that are unsatisfactory.

    Wall, head…

  2. Ian Perry says:

    A prime example of the inability of the Vale Council to provide bus stops can be seen in Penarth town centre. Buses cannot align correctly with the bus kerbs, and every hour, there is a second bus, so passengers have to walkout into the road and step up onto the buses to board. This is really unacceptable – but it appears, no one at the council checked the bus timetable when designing the bus stops for Penarth town centre.

    Cardiff council is no better. The new bus stop outside of the Royal Infirmary is another example of a total lack of respect for tax payers, and a complete failure to understand the purpose of bus kerbs.

    And why does timetable information at bus stops have to be on small scraps of paper, with tiny print?

  3. des lloyd says:

    I would favour an evening service to the beach even if its 2 or 3 trips.

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