Cardiff Bus fares could be cut, says new company chairman

August 6, 2012 8 Comments »

The fare for shorter journeys on Cardiff Bus services could be reduced, says company chairman Benjamin Thomas.

Cardiff Bus is considering slashing the price of its fares for shorter journeys, the company’s new chairman has revealed.

Councillor Benjamin Thomas said passenger numbers had dropped over the past six months and he had tasked the Cardiff council-owned company with winning them back.

Cardiff Bus has hiked its fares twice in the past year, with the cost of a single journey increasing from £1.50 to £1.70. Rising fuel costs and a cut in Welsh Government funding were blamed.

But the new chairman says he believes £1.70 is too high a charge for short trips and he wants the company to look at introducing a new fare scale.

“If you are going just a few stops, I believe the charge of £1.70 is too high. We are looking at implementing a smaller charge for smaller journeys,” he said.

The Labour councillor for Whitchurch pledged to improve service reliability and to “build the company back up from grassroots level” by listening to its drivers.

“I believe over the course of the last few years the company has been steered away from the grass roots – its drivers and mechanics – and reliability has suffered,” he said.

“We want to re-engage with the staff, listen to their requirements and rebuild everything from the ground up.”

Coun Thomas, who owns a company which home delivers furniture for Ikea in Wales, also wants to see real-time information installed at more stops, as well better use of social media.

Coun Thomas was appointed chairman of the company’s board on Tuesday. He replaces Liberal Democrat councillor Joseph Carter, who held the post for four years.

The appointment, instigated by the new Labour administration running the council, comes after Cardiff Bus managing director David Brown resigned last month.

Mr Brown left after a damning Competition Appeals Tribunal report found the company’s tactics had driven its rivals 2Travel off the road in 2004.

Tribunal chairman Lord Carlile of Berriew said the MD had lied and given undertakings to his board that its cut-price White Service was run in accordance with anti-competitive legislation – without taking legal advice.

Mr Brown had worked at Cardiff Bus for 18 years and a company spokeswoman refused to disclose the value of Mr Brown’s severance payments.

She said: “Cardiff Bus does not consider it appropriate to give specific details of any payments to be made to David Brown in connection with the termination of his employment because such details constitute confidential and personal information. However, Cardiff Bus confirms that the terms of Mr Brown’s departure are in line with his contractual entitlements.”

Cardiff Bus was ordered to pay £93,000 in compensation to 2Travel’s administrators, but the company could also be liable to pay the legal bills of both parties.

The cost of a single journey on a Cardiff bus has increased from £1.50 to £1.70 in the past year.

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  1. Ben Gallivan August 6, 2012 at 1:27 pm - Reply

    It would make sense to introduce some kind of Zonal system that's for sure. It might be a little difficult to implement but I think paying £1.70 for a few stops (with shopping for example) is a bit of a rip off. An Oyster card in London can get you the same for £1.40 and for much longer distances.

    • Edmund August 6, 2012 at 2:30 pm - Reply

      It wouldn't be hard to implement a zonal system — we still have the signs up from the last time Cardiff had a zonal system back around 2008.

  2. S Evans August 6, 2012 at 1:39 pm - Reply

    Why not ask the customers what THEY want too! I'd like to see something done about buses that run ahead of schedule, esp during the school holidays. Better use of the electronic boards too would be great.

  3. Edmund August 6, 2012 at 2:33 pm - Reply

    I would love to see a cut in fares but we need to know how it's going to be paid for — does he intend to cut routes or sack staff? The problem really is that fuel prices are increasing while the last council cut spending on Cardiff Bus back — we should restore public funding so we can have an affordable public transit system and we should integrate Cardiff Bus with Valleys, Newport and Vale lines so anyone in South Wales can travel anywhere from Swansea to Newport on an iff card.

  4. Alan August 6, 2012 at 5:34 pm - Reply

    I have been on about upgrading the information boards for a long while on their facebook page and asked them to implement some changes on match days etc. It got to the stage that they prevented me from posting comments on their Facebook page. What customer service is that.

  5. Mr Greenway August 6, 2012 at 6:48 pm - Reply

    The cut in fares will eventually be paid for by the congestion charge that this council are so eager to impose on us all.Then the park and ride buses which are travelling mainly empty will pay their way as the price will rise but still be cheaper than the congestion charge.

  6. Jim August 6, 2012 at 10:11 pm - Reply

    How about a decent diffcard that can be topped up online?

  7. Matt Smith August 8, 2012 at 11:55 am - Reply

    I think the price of a day to go is still quite reasonable despite recent hikes if you're using the bus from the end of the line to town but it's the short distance users (the distance where people can easily hop into a car to go down the shops) which Cardiff Bus needs to attract. A reasonable cost short journey using fare zones, well publicised to otherwise "stubborn" motorists would be far more productive than a congestion charge at getting cars off the road in the city, something that everyone would benefit.

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