Penarth Town Council has deferred a decision on providing financial support for the Comeston extension to the Cardiff Bus No.91 Summer Service.
The service was launched by Cllr Lis Burnett (Labour St Auigustines) Deputy Leader of the Vale of Glamorgan Council with considerable fanfare – but has turned out to be a total – and embarrassing flop .
A Penarth Town Council report informed councillors than not a single passenger boarded the bus at Cosmeston Country Park throughout the entire summer of 2016 .
The No. 91 service is run on a commercial basis by Cardiff Bus on summer Saturdays and Sundays only – but originally only ran from Cardiff to Penarth Esplanade – and didn’t run to Cosmeston until Cllr Burnett got involved.
In July 20126 she launched an extended service for the No.91 Bus, – so that after calling at Penarth Esplanade, the buses continued-on to Cosmeston Country Park and then returned to Cardiff. That extension was subsidised with Council Tax Payers’ cash to the tune of £145 PER DAY – the only snag was that there was zero demand for such a service.
Council reports say that throughout the summer absolutely no one boarded the service at Cosmeston.
Cllr Anthony Ernest thas old Penarth Town Council’spolicy committee the problem with the service was that it only ran at weekend and ran at times when the established 88 and 89B buses did not run – giving rise to a “question of identification”. The whole thing- he said “is a bit of dog’s breakfast” .
Cllr Ernest said that what was needed was an overall rational look at all the bus services serving Penarth, the Marina, the Barrage, the Esplanade and other parts of the town rather than” putting in ad hoc services and then funding them “.
Cllr Gwyn Roberts said he agreed entirely with Cllr Ernest and suggested Penarth Council officers held discussions with the officers of the Vale Council and report back.
Cllr Martin Turner ( Conservative Plymouth Ward) – who normally supports the Labour Group on the Town Council – had no words of comfort for the committee.
Cllr Turner said “At the risk of stating the obvious – it seems to me futile actually running the bus to Cosmeston Country Park. There’s no demand for it at all”.
Cllr Mark Wilson (Labour Stanwell) said that although it was a disappointment that the bus would be no longer running to Cosmeston, he nevertheless agreed with the idea of carrying out a survey to find out “would there be people prepared to travel to Cosmeston in a more sustainable way than using their car” – particularly amongst the “more infirm” population .
Cllr Wilson also pointed out that people were becoming more aware of the various footpaths linking Cosmeston with other Stanwell and other wards.
In the chair Cllr Mike Cuddy (Labour St Augustines) said that – as with all transport transport issues – it was a matter of reinforcing what he called “behavioural change”.
There are now to be discussions between Penarth Town Council and the Vale of Glamorgan Council to take a holistic view of local bus services.