Bus battles in Penarth? New-kid-on-the-block NWT may find a sister company of Cardiff Bus looming large in its rear view mirrors

Bus battles in Penarth? New-kid-on-the-block NWT may find a sister company of Cardiff Bus looming large in its rear view mirrors

A new bus line is getting ready to take on all comers in the increasingly-competitive scheduled passenger-bus market in the Vale of Glamorgan.

The new bus line – Vale BusLine Ltd – will be aiming to oust established competitors like Harton Coaches and the New Adventure Travel (NWT) – which recently took over services in the Vale operated by another independent firm –  Watts .

A handpicked fleet of 20 ex-Cardiff-Bus buses has already been selected and authorised for operation by the Traffic Commissioner with further vehicles to be added as the services expand . The buses to be used have all racked up a fair amount  of previous mileage – but, as they’re all Cardiff Bus maintained, reliability shouldn’t be a problem.

A new livery and logo will be painted on the buses shortly . The board of directors of Vale BusLine is surprisingly similar (in fact identical) to the board of Cardiff Bus, the transport undertaking which is a wholly owned subsidiary of Cardiff Council.

Of course any brand new bus line faces a formidable battle to win new routes – but it seems Vale Busline (VBL) already has this problem sorted. The company plans to take over lightly used suburban  services currently operated by Cardiff Bus – although both companies will have to give the requisite notice of proposed transfers to the Transport Commissioner.

UNITE union strike pickets outside the HQ of Cardiff Bus in Cardiff in September last year

UNITE union strike pickets outside the HQ of Cardiff Bus in Cardiff in September last year

Cardiff Bus staff – who went on strike last year – have terms and conditions which entitle  them to refuse to give passengers any change – and passengers don’t like it – because they often don’t have the exact money.

Cllr Ben Thomas Chariman of Cardiff Bus

Cllr Ben Thomas Chairman of Cardiff Bus

The idea of Vale Busline is to set up a no-frills lower-cost operation than Cardiff Bus itself . Cardiff Bus chairman Cllr Ben Thomas, says the move is a response to Cardiff Bus losing passengers – citing the bad winter weather and the demolition of the bus terminal outside the General Station.

However, Passenger Transport magazine says it understands that Vale Busline Ltd is likely to recruit staff “on different terms and conditions from those applying to Cardiff Bus staff”.

 The Vale Busline Company was set up as a subsidiary of Cardiff Bus years ago but has been dormant until now.

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  1. penarthblog says:

    As someone who has mobility problems, these services will be useful to me.

  2. Philip Rapier says:

    Welcome back PDN and best wishes for a continued full recovery.
    Here is why you are losing passengers.Cardiff Bus!
    Understaffed! Underpaid1 Under trained aggressive weak Management! No Staff Restroom at Central Square. No Bus Shelters , No Electronic Timetable or Enquiry Office for the Public at Central Square (no Electronic Timetable in Penarth either)– SEVEN “empty” bus shelters on Tudor Street It is high time this self praising, self advertising,anachronistic, neo monopoly was brought to an end.
    Cardiff Bus has a policy of appointing an Employee Director so it is difficult to see quite why they would engage in Union bashing through Vale BusLine. However it would not surprise me as Cardiff Council colludes in the provision of these apalling service levels by their being expert at the tactics of Cardiff Council blaming Cardiff Bus and vice versa for any problem. -Check out their Facebook Page- that is the closest they get to an Enquiry Office Responses vary from “I dunno mate” to “Cardiff Council’s fault” Expect Vale Busline to make matters worse any time soon -if that were possible- by a much reduced service to Penarth.

  3. anne says:

    Agree with Philip. We don’t need a second rate service for penarth. The closure of the bus station is major reason for the decline in bus use.

  4. David Roche says:

    Another way by Cardiff Bus management to screw their employees
    Let’s hope they don’t drop a clanger like they did with their white battle buses last time we will have

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