Cardiff Bus

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Cardiff Bus
Cardiff bus logo.svg
Cardiff Bus Enviro 400 double decker.jpg
A Cardiff Bus Alexander Dennis Enviro400 in September 2015
SloganWe'll get you there
ParentCardiff Council
FoundedMay 1902
HeadquartersSloper Road
Service typeBus services
Fleet237 active vehicles
(August 2018)
Fuel typeDiesel
Chief executiveCynthia Ogbonna

Cardiff Bus[1] (Welsh: Bws Caerdydd) is the dominant operator of bus services in Cardiff, Wales and the surrounding area, including Barry and Penarth. Its hub is Cardiff Central bus station; the company is wholly owned by Cardiff Council[2][3] and is one of the few municipal bus companies to remain in council ownership.


Cardiff Trolleybus

While horse buses (and later horse trams) had run in the city since 1845, Cardiff Bus can trace its history back to May 1902, when Cardiff Council took over and electrified a tram line between Roath and the city centre, it had been previously run by the Cardiff Tramway Company. The resultant Cardiff Corporation Tramways spent the next three decades extending its electric tram network, and at its peak in 1927 ran 141 electric trams over 18 miles of line. On Christmas Eve 1920, the corporation introduced its first bus, although the first motor bus route was operated by the Tramway Company from 1907.[4]

The first Cardiff trolleybuses were introduced in 1942, their introduction having been delayed by the outbreak of World War II; the intention was to convert the remaining tramway system to trolleybus operation, then to extend the network. While the first stage was completed in 1950, the only extension made to the system was to Ely which took place in 1955. Although powers had been obtained to considerably expand the network, a policy U-turn occurred in 1961 when the decision was made to replace all the trolleybuses with motor buses; this task was completed in 1970, bringing to an end 68 years of electric traction on the streets of Cardiff.[4]

The Transport Act of 1985 deregulated bus services outside London and required all Local Authorities to establish private "arm's length" bus companies. In October 1986 the council established a subsidiary company.[1] In 1992, the closure of the National Welsh bus company led Cardiff Bus to extend and intensify its network in the areas and towns surrounding Cardiff, including Barry, the Vale of Glamorgan and Caerphilly; the Caerphilly local network of services including links between Cardiff, Caerphilly, Blackwood and Tredegar were discontinued in 2001 and are now provided by Stagecoach in South Wales.

Some loss-making services have been withdrawn and are now operated under local authority tender by other operators, including Watts Coaches and NAT Group.

From September 2016, four of Cardiff Bus' services (routes 51/53, 86 and X91) were transferred to its new Capital Links sister brand,[5] with a further four services transferring over to Capital Links two months later.[6] Vehicles used on these services are in either an orange or green base livery, and as of July 2017, Capital Links operate seven routes.


Cardiff Bus has a turnover of £27million, employs around 705 people, on an average weekday carries around 100,000 passengers.[7] In 2009 the company started to operate the park and ride service from Cardiff City Stadium to the city centre.


Cardiff Bus operates an exact fare policy and no change is given; the city used to be divided into four fare zones, but on 5 April 2009, Cardiff Bus introduced a flat fare of £1.60 for a one-way journey or £3.20 for all-day travel in Cardiff and Penarth, or £1.40/£2.80 for travel within Barry. This has since been increased to £1.80 for a one-way journey or £3.60 for all-day travel in Cardiff and Penarth, or £1.70 and £3.40 in Barry (£2.50/£4.90 Cardiff and Barry). A weekly ticket can be purchased for travel within Cardiff for £13, but an "iff card" will need to be presented as this type of ticket is not printed out on their machine. Tickets can also be purchased on the mobile app (available for iOS and Android), some of which are at a discounted rate. Special fares apply for travel between Cardiff and Barry, Newport and X91, the Airport and Llantwit Major.[8]

Iff card[edit]

Iff card is a contactless smart card introduced by Cardiff Bus in October 2010, allowing customers to travel on its services after having pre-paid; the first 30,000 cards were issued free of charge and preloaded with £3 of credit, after which the cards will be charged at £5.

An amount of money is electronically loaded onto the card, either upon boarding a bus or at the Cardiff Bus customer service centre. A passenger then chooses a ticket type; the card can also be used as a season ticket. The card should be topped-up when the balance is low, however the card allows the customer to acquire a negative balance up to £3.[9]

The card can be topped-up in units of £5, £10 or £20, up to maximum amount of £50; the card may be used by persons aged between 6 and 60. The Iff card cannot be used to pay a partial amount; the card is cancelled if not used for a continuous period of one year.[10]


A Mercedes-Benz Citaro and an Alexander Dennis Enviro400 in Cathays

As of August 2018, the fleet consists of 237 vehicles, all of which are low floor. Single deck vehicles dominate the fleet, accounting for 90.7% of the overall fleet. Since 2013, 80 brand new vehicles have been purchased, with the most recent being delivered in August 2017.

On the double deck side of the fleet, of which there are 23 vehicles, ten high capacity Alexander Dennis Enviro400s joined the fleet in 2015. Prior to the delivery of the former, thirteen East Lancs Olympus bodied Scania N230UDs entered service in 2007.

The most common single deck type is the Pointer-bodied Alexander Dennis/Dennis/TransBus Dart SLF, with 72 vehicles of three different lengths in the fleet; the second most common type is the Scania OmniCity, with 43 in total. Nineteen of the OmniCitys are the articulated variant.

The Alexander Dennis Enviro200 also dominates, with 40 examples in the fleet, including ten with the "MMC" body; the Mercedes-Benz Citaro has become the standard large single deck type in recent years, with 40 Citaros in service as of August 2017. Operated in smaller numbers are the TransBus Enviro300, with twelve examples, and seven Wright Solar bodied Scania K230UBs.


Although the predominant colour of Cardiff is blue, the original branding in both the entire tram, trolley bus and early bus operations until the 1970s was crimson lake and cream livery; this then changed to orange with white lining, from August 1972 with "City of Cardiff" on the left hand side and "Dinas Caerdydd" on the right hand side. This changed in 1986 when the business became Cardiff Bus. However, since the 1990s the dominant colouring has been green, first with cream lining and since the introduction of modern wrapping, a return for orange in the adjustments/outline.

Just before the introduction of the Iff Card, the company started a "your bus service" campaign, fronted by a series of local peoples faces being applied in large scale on the sides and rears of selected buses; these were Scania OmniCitys 721 (Elaine Petersen), 722 (Michael Simmons), 723 (Jenny Hemingway), 724 (Pauline De Rochha), 725 (Daniel Bois) and 726 (Stephen Bailey).


Cardiff Bus's dominant position has sometimes come in for criticism and investigation. In 2004, 2Travel,[11] a company operating significant numbers of school contract services in South Wales, launched low-cost services in Cardiff and Swansea to utilise its fleet between the school runs. Low fares were achieved by omitting major bus stations avoiding hefty access fees. Cardiff Bus launched a basic service in competition with 2Travel, using white buses bearing no livery also stopping short of the bus station; the Office of Fair Trading launched an investigation in 2007 into claims of predatory behaviour 18 months after 2Travel had ceased trading and gone into liquidation.[12][13] The investigation found that Cardiff Bus had engaged in predatory behaviour.[14]



Different branding worn by Cardiff Bus vehicles.

Livery chronology[edit]

The different liveries used by Cardiff Bus from to the present day.

See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b Companies House extract company no 2001229 Cardiff City Transport Services Limited
  2. ^ Wallis, Max. "Supplementary Evidence on Transport Infrastructure, relating to the new LTP" (PDF). Cardiff City Council. Retrieved 17 February 2015.
  3. ^ Bolter, Abby. "Cardiff Bus depot sale halted". WalesOnline. Retrieved 17 February 2015.
  4. ^ a b The Cardiff Story, Cardiff Bus. Retrieved 19 October 2017.
  5. ^ "Capital Links". Cardiff Bus. Cardiff Bus. Retrieved 23 July 2017.[permanent dead link]
  6. ^ "New Routes for Capital Links". Capital Links. Capital Links. Retrieved 23 July 2017.[permanent dead link]
  7. ^ "Staff turnover plummets to record low levels". TUC Wales. Archived from the original on 10 June 2015. Retrieved 2 November 2008.
  8. ^ "Our Fares". Cardiff Bus. Retrieved 20 October 2017.
  9. ^ Smartcard Archived 7 October 2010 at the Wayback Machine Cardiff Bus
  10. ^ Iff: Terms and Conditions Archived 10 October 2010 at the Wayback Machine Cardiff Bus
  11. ^ Companies House extract company no 3823139 2 Travel Group plc
  12. ^ Bus firm predatory tactics claim BBC News 15 May 2007
  13. ^ OFT under fire for delays in Cardiff Bus case Western Mail 16 May 2007
  14. ^ Cardiff Bus Archived 16 August 2013 at the Wayback Machine Office of Fair Trading 2008

External links[edit]