New express bus tender to Cardiff Centre & Airport

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An express bus service running every 20 minutes almost round the clock between Cardiff city centre and Cardiff Airport is due to launch next month.

The Vale of Glamorgan Council is inviting operators to bid to run the service, which comes four months after the Welsh Government’s £52m takeover of the terminal in Rhoose, which is located some 14 miles West of the city.

The contract will initially be awarded on a trial basis for the six months up to the end of January, with the council holding an option to extend it by up to five years should it be successful.

The contract was advertised on June 18 and the deadline for applications is July 18 – just 14 days before its planned launch. Following receipt of tenders, a decision will be taken by the Welsh Government, with the council, as to when the service will start.

It will be scheduled to run approximately every 20 minutes between 0400 and 0000hrs, 363 days a year, according to the contract notice.

The notice does not provide details on the exact route or the location of stops, but describes it as a ‘high profile, high quality and limited-stop, express local bus service’.

The four vehicles required, plus an engineering spare, will be supplied by the council, but fully maintained – including onboard services such as free WiFi – by the successful contractor.

Maximum fares have also been set by the Vale council – £5 single or £8 return for adults, £2.50 single or £4 return for children, while Welsh concessionary pass holders and children under five ride free – but the operator will retain any onboard revenue, including any income from external sales agents.

The new service comes after municipally-owned Cardiff Bus announced it would withdraw its X91 Sunday service between the city centre and Cardiff Airport due to low passenger numbers, although the remaining two-hourly Monday to Saturday service will continue.

Councillor Lis Burnett commented: “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.”