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
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.
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.