Bemused By Buses In Barry

Once the home of Western Welsh Transport (later National Welsh and, yes, it is confusing), with a depot in the town, fbb seems to remember that post deregulation an expansionist Cardiff Bus created a first strike onslaught on the town’s bus network. Whatever the history,hb Barty and neighbouring Penarth are now very much orange territory.
The National bus company, inevitably, ran minibuses.
They made sure everybody knew!

Didn’t National Welsh go spectacularly bust?

The Bus Depot is now the home to the Cardiff preservation group …
… and they’ve got a  Bustler!

The preserved South Wales bus at the head of this blog is at the stop outside the depot. 

Commercially, Cardiff Bus ultimately won the Battle of Barry, decisively.
In Barry, the forthcoming changes are, arguably, less drastic than in Cardiff itself. Indeed he main drag …

… 92, 93 and 94  via Penarth, are unchanged in frequency …

… and, despite the horror of the 20 mph speed limit, are speeded up by two whole minutes.

Then there is the 95/95A

This basically half hourly service via Dinas Powys …

… becomes a simplified half hourly with no variations and no extensions to Heath Hospital. The 95 no longer runs to Barry Island of former fantastic funfair fame.

The 96/96A tuns via Wenvoe as 96 …

… with the 96A being an evening variant. The revised route is, once again, simply the 96.

Ancients like fbb will remember the name Wenvoe as one of the TV transmitters for good old 405 line BBC. It opened in 1952 …

… and was replaced in 1980.

Maybe we should now have a current (until 3rd Sept) map.

Which leaves the 97 and 98 …

… best thought of as Barry locals, not running through to Cardiff. The 97 wiggles to Gibbons Down with alternate journeys going “the other way round” offering a bus every half an hour to equidistant points on the loop.

On Saturdays, only the 97A runs.

The 98, shown here for both directions in close proximity …

… gives up early in the afternoon and runs not at all on Saturdays,

Now look at a close-up on the new network map from Sunday onwards.
The 97, 97A and 98 are replaced by B1 and B2.

B1 and B2 each run hourly so Gibbons Down retains its half hourly headway! Clever, eh?

Highlight Park now has a “proper” hourly service Monday yo Friday but only the B2 runs on Saturdays, similar to the 97 before it; but now only hourly to the estate.

Barry Island also has its service halved and provides no link from Cardiff to the fun factory as was.
Under the circumstances, fbb must congratulate Cardiff Bus. Broadly all Barryites keep their bus service with only minor reductions and, hopefully some costs have been squeezed out of the teetering budget.
Of course none of this would have been necessary if Cardiff Bus were not trying to balance its books. A franchise deal would allow better cross fertilisation between profitable city routes and socially desirable marginal services.

But, worry not in the medium term. If the Welsh Government takes over responsibility for the buses as well as the trains, taxes can rise, fares can drop and bus services will be secure for ever and a day.


A good day out?
P.S. fbb always thought that the doomed National Welsh livery was one of the better privatised NBC efforts; and just that little bit “different”.
Tomorrow we are going here …

… and sampling its buses. It is a franchised network.

 Next Cross-Channel blog : Thursday 31st August 
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