Tuesday, 29 January 2013

Then Three Come Along....

What's the old saying? Something along the lines of you wait for one bus and three turn up at once? Well, there's three little bits of news to post so I thought I'd do it in the same post. 

On Monday, Stagecoach started operating their new 10 minutely 120/130 service as they had hoped to run back at the end of last year. The 244 Pontypridd - Bridgend is slightly amended and no longer runs to the Royal Glamorgan Hospital. Also, all 132 services run between Maerdy and Cardiff when previously the 18 past from Cardiff only went as far as Pontypridd and passengers wishing to go further had to change onto the X32. The X32 timetable leaves Maerdy 7 minutes later at 12 minutes past each hour and Cardiff at 45 minutes past (3 minutes later than before) but services before 8am remain the same. The 120/130 services no longer serve Trehafod but the 132, which previously didn't, does. The X32 doesn't. It'll be interesting to see if the extra 132 service eases the pressure on some of the morning X32s, which seemed to be more popular than the 132 between Maerdy and Pontypridd, despite running exactly the same route and timetable.

Stagecoach have also announced the return of the Rhondda Megarider. Two years ago it was removed and the only weekly ticket option was the Megarider Gold. Priced at £18 I believe it is cheaper than it was before its removal. With the addition of a number of new vehicles, Stagecoach are clearly targetting the area and believe they can generate more growth. I can well imagine that the disappearance of the Rhondda Megarider would have caused a number of complaints. Compare this with First Cymru, who haven't invested in new vehicles for a long time now and operate a fleet of mainly P to T reg vehicles around South Wales. Bridgend doesn't have its own weekly ticket; passengers buy a First Week ticket that covers them across their network (cunningly disguised as a Bridgend weekly ticket with bonus of travel across all of First's buses in South Wales). Bridgend now has the highest cost of a local weekly ticket anywhere in South Wales. Terrible.

Mentioning First Cymru, they have decided to extend their Greyhound service to Newport and Bristol Airport from Cardiff and Swansea. Tickets from £6 from Cardiff and £10 from Swansea (the Bridgend option doesn't work for some reason). Pity the £1 fares from that date appear to have gone but tickets between Swansea and Cardiff are available for £2.50. Does South Wales need 15 coaches a day between Swansea and Bristol Airport? Who knows? It's certainly a brave venture by First and good luck to them with it.

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