Cardiff Bus is preparing to launch its biggest shake-up of routes in a decade – and has been criticised for failing to consult and properly inform its passengers.
Tens of thousands of passengers will potentially be affected by the changes to 40% of the company’s routes.
The shakeup will be introduced on July 21 after the firm launched the first major review of its services in more than 10 years.
It will affect 51 bus services in Cardiff and the eastern part of the Vale of Glamorgan.
This includes eight services being replaced by six new services.
Other services will see stops removed or added, the frequency increased or decreased and changes to evening and Sunday services.
Also included will be new services to Ocean Way and Cardiff Gate Business Park.
Cardiff Bus’ operations and commercial director Peter Heath said: “We tend to review all of our services on an annual basis. But recently it has been more about addressing congestion in the city centre. It’s the first time we’ve really appraised the services and looked at what the demand is.”
Cardiff Bus used transport consultants TAS and said many of the changes are in line with its recommendations but that the changes also reflect the reduction in funding from the Welsh Government which it said will “adversely affect” the company from next April.
Cardiff Bus, which has 100,000 passengers a day, said 95% of its operations are commercial – meaning they are funded by the customers who pay to use it.
Only one of the routes affected by the changes is subsidised by the council – one which Mr Heath said will change “for the better” by increasing from a two hourly to a one-hourly service.
Gabalfa councillor Ed Bridges said Cardiff Bus should have consulted properly with its customers.
He said: “This latest round of changes, without any formal consultation with citizens or their representatives, is an aberration.”
Mr Heath said the company has no legal obligation to consult with the public on bus changes but that it has held some events because they believe it to be “good practice”.
Mr Heath said these consultations were advertised and held in areas where the biggest changes will take place – Fairwater, Ely, Radyr and Lisvane.
Gareth Stevens, business development manager at Cardiff Bus, said the majority of feedback was good and that 60 to 70 people turned up in Radyr event and 15 people in Ely.
But Coun Bridges said some constituents had “serious concerns” about how they would be affected.
Gabalfa resident Rod Williams said: “Many residents, some elderly, choose to shop at Whitchurch village, and will be faced with a long walk to Gabalfa Clinic in order to catch the 23 bus.”
He said the change to the number 35 bus where two of the three services each hour will be diverted via North Road, will “inconvenience” passengers wanting to shop at Whitchurch Road or Crwys Road.
Mr Williams said: “Local traders have been running a campaign to ‘shop local’ but Cardiff Bus has decided otherwise, in diverting buses away from the area.”
Under the changes, services 21 and 23 will now run via the Gabalfa flyover and The Philog in Whitchurch – leaving out the Gabalfa Interchange and Birchgrove.
Cardiff Bus said this will give a faster and more direct service between the city centre and Whitchurch.
Mr Heath said this stop will still be served by eight other services.
Mr Heath and Mr Stevens said Cardiff Bus has been affected by falling passenger numbers and the change in shopping and working habits as a result of the economy and are trying to offer something different to stimulate demand.
Cardiff Bus has also created another two new services for over the summer period – the 91 to Mermaid Quay and Penarth Pier and the X99 to Barry Island.
The full changes can be found in full at www.cardiffbus.co.uk
Mr Stevens said notices will also be displayed at bus stops and on leaflets given out by staff in the lead up to July 21.