Major changes to a popular bus service are set to come into force next weekend despite the protests of elderly Cardiff Bay residents.
From Sunday, September 11, the Baycar service – between the Bay and city centre – will be extended to cover new areas.
The new route will take in Cathays Park and run direct to the Wales Millennium Centre (WMC) and across a new bridge into the Porth Teigr development.
It has been designed to better connect the Welsh Government offices at Cathays Park with the Assembly and link the new BBC Drama Village, Roath Lock, to the city.
However, the changes also mean the bus stop closest to the Adventurers Quay and Celestia Quay residential developments will be moved 300 metres to outside the WMC.
Judith Jones, 72, lives in Adventurers Quay and was forced to give up driving four years ago due to health issues.
She uses the Baycar most days and described it as a “lifeline”.
The grandmother, who will now have to walk a further 10 minutes to catch the bus, said the new route seemed to be for the benefit of Welsh Government workers.
“The stop is used all the time, but now everyone is going to have to walk to the Wales Millennium Centre,” she said.
Neighbour Bryan Dash, 79, added: “People depend on that service, so having to walk to the far end of Pierhead Street is going to be a challenge.”
Cardiff Bus said the number eight service would continue to stop at Celestia/Adventurers Quay and said the Baycar changes would improve reliability as two extra buses are being deployed.
David Brown, managing director of Cardiff Bus, said: “We are aware of concerns raised by residents of Adventurers Quay and Celestia Quay.
“Residents will have a little further to walk, but will see a much improved level of reliability.”
The Welsh Government said the contract to operate a shuttle bus between Cathays Park and the Bay for its employees had been terminated. A Welsh Government spokesman would not confirm whether staff would use the Baycar for business travel.
“We are currently exploring a number of options for the ongoing service that the shuttle bus provides.” he said.
The new-look route
The new route will take in Cathays Park during the daytime Monday to Friday, extending the service to include the Law Courts, City Hall, National Museum, Cardiff University, police station, Royal Welsh College of Music and Drama and the Welsh Government buildings.
The route will run direct to the Wales Millennium Centre, before continuing along East Bute Street.
During the daytime Monday to Friday, the route will be extended along Harbour Drive, taking in Britannia Quay, the Senedd and the Norwegian Church.
It will then cross the new bridge into the recently opened Porth Teigr development.
Cardiff Bus said passengers would travel up to five minutes faster to the main Bay area as the route avoids the long loop past County Hall.
“These major changes will be kept under close review, with a view both to fine tuning and possible further extensions of the route in the future,” said a spokesman.