An express bus service between Cardiff city centre and the newly-nationalised airport will start on Thursday, it has been confirmed.
Economy Minister Edwina Hart announced the new service at Cardiff Airport this morning, which will see buses running every 20 minutes, seven days a week and will run “from early morning to late at night”.
The new service is funded by the Welsh Government and developed together with the Vale of Glamorgan and Cardiff councils.
The news was announced on the day the British Airways A380 landed in Cardiff for the first time .
Existing bus links to the airport from Cardiff have been criticised for lack of frequency, and Cardiff Bus recently announced it was scrapping the X91 Sunday service to the hub due to lack of demand.
The new Cardiff Airport Express service will feature coach-style leather seating, climate control, WiFi, extra luggage space and improved on-board information, and will stop at Cardiff Bus Station and Cardiff Bay.
Tickets will cost £5 for a single, and £8 for a return ticket, with reductions for children and free for concessionary bus pass holders resident in Wales.
Work is also underway to allow passengers to buy online, combined with other train or bus tickets, the government said.
Mrs Hart said: “The Welsh Government’s vision for the development of Cardiff Airport includes making it easier for passengers to travel to and from the airport using public transport. This service provides a modern, convenient and comfortable link to the city centre at a competitive price.”
Vale of Glamorgan council Cabinet Member for Regeneration, Innovation, Planning and Transportation, Councillor Lis Burnett, said: “The Vale council is pleased to support the Welsh Government in the delivery of this new service. We feel strongly that high quality, public transport at affordable prices is essential to securing a positive future for Cardiff Airport.”
Jon Horne, chief executive at Cardiff Airport, said: “It is great to see the new Cardiff Airport Express service launched. This new service greatly enhances the airport’s public transport offer, something sought in the feedback we receive from our customers. It will play an important part in the overall process of improving connectivity to the airport.”
Councillor Graham Hinchey, Cardiff Council Cabinet Member for Strategic Planning and Transport, said: “I am delighted to see the launch of this new express bus service. This is another great example of successful partnership working and underlines Cardiff Council’s commitment to improving links from the city centre to Cardiff Airport which is so important to the city region economy.”
But Liberal Democrat Eluned Parrott said: “This is poor planning by the Welsh Labour Government. Many families using Cardiff Airport this summer will have already booked expensive car parking or made other arrangements.
“This announcement is all a little rushed. This major project was first announced four years ago, but has been unveiled today, just four days before the first bus starts. We also have the vague promise of the ability to buy tickets online at some unspecified point.
“While this is welcome news, it would have been better if this service had started four years ago, when it was originally announced by Ieuan Wyn Jones. The airport then had twice as many passengers and many more routes than it does today.
“I wish this new service well and would like to encourage residents across South Wales to use it. I only hope that the Welsh Government markets this service properly so that travellers are fully aware of it.”