Cardiff’s plan to improve key bus routes revealed


A new plan to improve six key bus routes into Cardiff city centre, designed to boost passenger numbers and deliver quicker journey times, has been revealed.

The Bus Infrastructure Plan, which sets out a series of possible on-street interventions aimed at improving key bus corridors into Cardiff, will be discussed by the council's Cabinet at its meeting on Thursday, March 21.

The plan, that has been produced in consultation with Cardiff Bus, Transport for Wales, and other operators, sets out a series of improvements which could make bus travel quicker and more reliable.

If approved by Cabinet, authority will be given to consult with the public on the plans.

Cllr Dan De'Ath, Cabinet Member for Strategic Planning and Transport said: "In January 2020, Cardiff Council set out an ambitious 10-year transport strategy with a specific focus on increasing the number of people travelling by bus, and on growing the numbers of people choosing to walk or cycle instead of using the private car. A target was set to double the number of people travelling by bus from 2018 to 2030.

"By investing in public transport and active travel, we will provide a credible alternative to travelling by private car, which in turn has significant benefits, giving residents and visitors better and healthier options to travel around the city. The aim has to be to reduce congestion, significantly improve the air that we all breathe, while making Cardiff a better place to live and visit.

"In 2021, a bus strategy was produced and consulted on with the public. This set out a number of improvements including pricing, integrated ticketingoptions, better services, a more modern electric fleet, and improved road infrastructure.

"Unfortunately, the COVID Pandemic struck the UK which had a significant impact on bus services everywhere. The number of people traveling by bus in Cardiff fell to an historic low, and in Wales a significant amount of funding was provided by Welsh Government to support the industry.

"Since then, patronage has increased gradually, but congestion and specific pinch points on the highway network continue to cause problems for bus operators to provide a reliable service for their customers.

"This plan proposes six key bus routes which will connect with key interchange points, including the new Bus Interchange, Waungron Station, University Hospital for Wales and current and future park & ride sites.

"The aim is to provide faster services, more accessible services that are easier to use, better integration between bus, rail, light rail, cycling and walking, and a better foundation to bid for future transport funding.

"It is important to make it clear that we are not proposing dedicated bus lanes along the length of these six routes, rather targeted interventions using a range of different methods to make travel by bus more attractive for both residents and visitors to use".

Craig Hampton-Stone, Managing Director of Cardiff Bus said:

"Cardiff Bus fully supports the ambition to introduce bus priority infrastructure as identified in this plan. Buses are critical to the city's transport needs and account for 80% of all public transport journeys. Now is the time to really underpin this by getting our buses moving again and we hope the collaborative approach shown will underscore the importance of plan to Cardiff and gain the unequivocal backing and funding from Welsh Government".

An outline of the proposed six key bus routes and possible interventions are:

Route 1) Ely to the City Centre- This route will connect Ely, Trelai, Canton and Riverside with onward connections to the city centre.

On this route, the highway isn't wide enough to have dedicated bus lanes on either side of the road, although priority lanes and possible restrictions for general traffic will be assessed to improve journey times. Other potential interventions could include:

Route 2) University Hospital for Wales to the International Sports Village- This route has been chosen to ensure a vital bus route to the University Hospital of Wales, and provide a key connection to Grangetown, The International Sports Village and on to the Vale of Glamorgan.

On this route, various interventions will be considered to improve the journey times through Plasnewydd, Cathays and Gabalfa, including:

  • Kerbside controls - which involves stopping pavement parking, stopping parking in bus stops or stopping cars blocking bus lanes
  • Improvements to the Albany Road/City Road/Richmond Road/Crwys Road junction and the Newport Road/City Road junction
  • The use of technology to give priority to buses and improvements to bus stops.
  • Further interventions towards the International Sports Village, such as bus lanes could be considered due to the width of the highway on this part of the route.

Route 3) City Centre to Newport Road, onto Cardiff Parkway and Newport- This route will run from the City Centre down Newport Road to Cardiff Parkway and onto the Newport boundary. This will provide services to Pentwyn, Pontprennau, Rumney and St Mellons.

The potential interventions on this route could include:

  • Bus lanes to give priority in specific sections of the route
  • Technology to give priority to buses
  • Improvements to the Newport Road/Wentloog Road junction, the Newport Road/City Road junction and the Newport Road/Westgrove junction
  • Kerbside controls -to stop pavement parking, parking in bus stops and cars blocking bus lanes
  • Relocating bus stops - to ensure there are safer crossings for pedestrians 

Route 4) City Centre to Cardiff Bay -This route would look to future proof current bus routes to support future developments and existing railway routes.

The potential interventions on this route could include some, or all of the interventions available to prioritise bus travel.

Route 5) City Centre to North Cardiff, RCT and Caerphilly -This route is the most established bus route so far and is made up of several routes that connect with North Cardiff through Gabalfa Roundabout and on to the city centre, with ongoing travel to both RCT and Caerphilly.

The potential interventions on this route could include:

  • An ongoing assessment of Gabalfa roundabout to identify how buses can be given priority
  • New technology to give priority to buses at junctions
  • Reorganisation of bus stops
  • Improvements to the Merthyr Road/Caerphilly Road junction

Route 6) City Centre to Plasnewydd and Northeast Cardiff -This route will connect the highly-populated areas of Plasnewydd and Penylan, providing access to key educational facilities.

The possible interventions include:

  • Kerbside interventions - to stop pavement parking, parking in bus stops and cars blocking bus lanes
  • Relocation of bus stops, to ensure there is a safe crossing for pedestrians
  • Installing technology at junctions to give priority to buses
  • Improvements to the Albany Road/City Road/Richmond Road/Crwys Road junction and improvements to the Newport Road/Westgrove junction.