Friday 9 August 2013

Maes Awyr Caerdydd [2]

airport, bottom left

Getting there by bus.
Not easy!

The Great Britain Bus Timetable for 2000 showed four services to the Airport. These are summarised thus (showing journey times from Cardiff to the Airport):-

 HP55  Cardiff Bus X91 Hourly
Cardiff - Airport - Llantwit Major
journey time 30 mins
evening journeys svc 345 via Barry and Barry Island
journey time 55 mins
No Sunday service

 HP58  First Cymru X5 every two hours
Sunday Only
journey time 35 mins
as X91 but via Barry

 HP61  First Cymru 143/144 hourly
Barry - Airport - Llantwit Major
No evening or Sunday service

 HP79  Shamrock X45 hourly
Cardiff - Barry - Airport - Llantwit Major - Talbot Green
No evening or Sunday service
journey time 52 minutes
Shamrock's owner, Clayton Jones, was something of a maverick ...
... who ultimately sold out to Veolia who ultimately gave up completely!
"Veolia Transport UK has entered into an agreement to buy the assets and businesses of Clayton and Alison Jones, RH & DT Edwards which operates bus and coach services as Shamrock Travel Group and also under the Thomas of Barry and Wales and the Marches brand names. The businesses operate local bus services, schools contracts and private hire coaches centred around Pontypridd and the Cardiff areas."
The fastest journey from Cardiff to the Airport in year 2000 was 30 minutes by X91.

Discounting Shamrock, the pattern up to the end of July 2013 was remarkably similar but even less useful.

  Cardiff Bus X91   An unimpressive 8 journeys between 0800 and 1800 approx wih an extra early morning run on Saturdays.
[similar to GBBTT HP55]
journey time 31 mins

The evening service is a "round the houses" 95
Journey time 58 mins
neither route runs on Sundays, but see below

  NAT 303   A similar service to First Cymru 143/144
[similar to GBBTT HP61]
but with a Sunday two hourly addition (see below)
NAT group = New Adventure Travel 

  NAT 304  Sundays only, two hourly Cardiff to Barry
but these buses continue as 303 and are
then diverted via the Airport similar to X5 above
 [similar to GBBTT HP58]
journey time 42 mins.

And a short natter about NAT (New Adventure Travel):-
Not only do we cater high quality coach hire, but we also cater numerous bus services routes (grammar?) across Rhondda Cynon Taf and the Vale of Glamorgan. We provide bus services mainly from Pontypridd Bus Station and travel to various surrounding areas, making it easier for customers to get to Pontypridd town for work, shopping and leisure.

So a sort of successor to Shamrock; in more than just operating area. The Managing Director of NAT is none other than one Kevyn Jones, son of Clayton!

What is clear from the above is that very few airline passengers (if any) would ever contemplate the bus link. Cardiff bus has reduced their X91 over the years to an inconvenient and decidedly forgettable frequency. Anyone aiming for bus in the evenings would have a very tedious journey indeed and the Sunday offering was not much better. The so-called "Airport Honeypot" had not been exploited at Cardiff. The confusion of route numbers and mixture of operators (and probably paucity of publicity at the Terminal) would discourage speculative travel.

Tomorrow we look at getting there by train (from 2005) and the new Express bus service launched on August 1st.

 Next Bus Blog : Saturday 10th August 


  1. A poorly researched post - the demise of the bus service happened long after all the airlines left.

  2. The point of the blog was that the bus services are little changed from 2000; so they never were much use whatever the level of flights from the airport. I do not have any information pre-GBBTT.

    Did services improve post 2000?

    I am very happy to receive extra information to fill out the picture.

    I am willing to be corrected and criticised, of course, but hard evidence helps!

    1. not really cos in 2003/04 there service got better when BMI baby and other airlines were there service got a bit better then in 2011 or 2012 there was no service and then in 2013 a NEW Airport Service was started

  3. Really very interesting and very valuable information about the transport nice work.

    coach hire cardiff