After a lack of take-up of the Airport Express bus service the Welsh Government commissioned Prof Stuart Cole to undertake a review, the results of which have recently been released:
The Cardiff airport shuttle service is sustainable, as long as air passenger numbers increase as forecast, a report for Welsh ministers has concluded.
Prof Stuart Cole from the University of South Wales was asked to review the bus service that was introduced in April.
He says eight passengers per journey are needed to make a profit, but the average is currently less than four.
Welsh ministers said they were considering the report while the Tories said it raised “serious questions”.
Funded by the Welsh government at a cost of £242,691 so far, the bus runs every 20 minutes from the airport at Rhoose, in the Vale of Glamorgan, to the centre of Cardiff.
The service has very quickly established a high profile and strong identity”
It also suggests cutting the number of journeys at the start and end of the day when demand is lower. [...]
This new report from Prof Stuart Cole finds that not many people choose public transport as their method to go to the Airport. This vindicates what we have always said at the Stop the Spur – Protect The Vale Line campaign: demand for public transport to the Airport is low.
“While a bus service is expensive, it’s a lot less expensive than building a new piece of railway. Welsh Government is quite right to question the cost effectiveness of even this modest bus service but it certainly isn’t worth spending £45 million (at today’s prices) on a direct rail link – with all of the disruption and damage that the work would entail – to the Airport. Why? There just wouldn’t be the passenger demand for it.”
Regular readers of this blog will remember this infographic produced in March 2012 and no less useful now:
The £15m in our round logo is the rough cost of only one mile of flat simple track. However the true cost is nearer £45m, made up of:
- 1.6 miles of track (£24m for a start!),
- a new junction and new signalling next to the viaduct,
- a 900-metre cutting through one hillside,
- earth works and dam to across Whitelands Brook,
- a further 400m cutting and earthworks, leading to
- two tunnels- one under the Port Road and one under the Airport Access Road, AND
- a completely new station plus signalling at the Airport.
If we could be so bold as to add an addendum to Prof Stuart Cole’s analysis it would contain the following:
- RECOMMENDATION: Protect the Vale line. Keep the services for local residents. Increase the frequency of services to help commuters choose rail instead road.
- RECOMMENDATION: Publicise the bus service that meets every train and goes to the Airport. Those asking for a a rail connection are ignoring the fact that we already have one. The rail connection already exists! Rhoose Cardiff International Airport is the name of the station and the cost of the short trip is £1 (one pound).