By Bus, Cardiff
Cardiff has a very good, comprehensive bus service, provided by Cardiff Bus/Bws Caerdydd. Cardiff Buses are coloured dark green and cream (they used to be bright orange!). The main Bus Station is directly in front of the Central Train Station, but buses stop in a variety of city centre locations while the bus station is being refurbished. You will find large maps of the bus routes around the city (in a similar style to the London Underground Map). The Cardiff Bus office is opposite the bus station, on Wood Street.
You pay your fare when you board the buses. Exact Fare Only applies. The drivers are not allowed to handle cash. You put your fare into the box next to the driver. No change! But let me tell you a secret - you can ask for a 'change voucher'. The driver will give you a receipt which you can take to the main Bus office (on Wood Street close to the Bus Station) and exchange for money.
Bus fares have been greatly simplified, any jsingle journey in Cardiff costs £1.50. An all-day adult travel ticket costs £3, so obviously if you are planning two or more journeys then buy a day ticket when you board your first bus.
Before my trip I was told that the local busses would be terrible, especially out of season, but I did not think so - in fact, all the trips I did by bus worked out well, and I only had one delay of ten minutes which was not really a problem.
If you plan to do one of the typical tourist trips by bus, I suggest you get the bus leaflet from the tourist office - it is a leaflet telling you about the busses to the most typical tourist places (Cardiff Bay, St Fagans, Llandaff, Castell Coch, Caerphilly). It explains where to get the busses, which bus to get, when they go and how much it costs. Very, very good info!
As otherwise it would be too much, I just repeat the most important info here. You can also find more info on the respective tips and pages of the places mentioned.
Cardiff Bay: Just a ten minute journey, £1,60 single/£3,20 return, runs every ten minutes
St Fagans: 25 minute journey, £3,20 return, runs every hour and sometimes more frequent
Llandaff: 15 minute journey, £3,20 return, runs every ten minutes
Castell Coch: 30 minute journey, £3,00 return, different busses, so roughly one every fifteen minutes - some stop in the village and some directly at the castle
Caerphilly: 45 minute journey, £3,70 return, every thirty minutes
It is also very easy to do a day trip visiting both Castell Coch and Caephilly - you can take bus 26 to Castell Coch first, from there bus 26 again to Caerphilly, and then bus 26 or bus A/B back to Cardiff. These busses are included if you buy a Stagecoach Explorer ticket for £6,60.
To get the exact times of departure (I only indicated it roughly), please get the leaflet mentioned above, or use the contact details below.
During my UK trip, I often travelled by National Express. This takes much more time than the train, but it is usually cheaper (though not always!). I found the coaches quite comfortable and the drivers very friendly. Luggage is restricted to two suitcases/bags and one piece of hand luggage. However, I always brought an additional bag of food as hand luggage, and it was never a problem.
I went to Cardiff from Edinburgh - this is a direct service that takes about ten and a half hours. If you book in advance, the cost is between £60 and £80, depending on the time of departure you choose. If you book very early, you will be able to get a lower train fare though, so it really depends on the time of booking and the time you want to go - always compare the prices!!!
I left Cardiff for Bournemouth and had to change busses in London which was very inconvenient - I did not check that when I booked, otherwise I would have gone by train, as there is a direct train from Cardiff to Bournemouth that is not expensive at all if you book early and get a good fare, and that only takes three and a half hours. Thus, it would be much better to go by train.
National Express busses arrive at the bus station next to the train station, in the city centre. The bus station is under renovation at the moment, but it was still easy to get around and find the right bus stands. There is a National Express office there as well, so you can get help if you have any questions, you can do bookings there etc.
The public transportation of Cardiff consists of local buses, which are operated on an exact fare system.
Cardiff is subdivided in 4 tariff zones. The single fare is calculated on how many zones you cross on your trip. There are several tickets available from single, return, transfare to different day tickets.
A good deal seems to be the "City Rider Ticket" for 3,50 GBP (2005), which is valid on one day for unlimited travel in Cardiff and Penarth on all services operated by Cardiff Bus.
The central bus and coach station is situated at Wood Street, just opposite the central train station.
There is a shuttle bus which runs between Cardiff International Airport (Rhoose) and Cardiff Central bus station. The straight through service runs every hour and takes about 35 minutes (some of the buses take longer as they stop at various towns along the way). The bus stop is situated just outside the terminal building. The return journey will cost you £6.00 whereas a taxi into town will set you back in excess of £20.00.
Up to date prices, information and bookings can be made on the National Rail Enquiries website - yep, I know it's a bus service but I think it is run by the rail companies!!
City Sightseeing run an excellent open top bus tour which takes you around the centre of Cardiff, it starts at the Castle then goes around the Civic Centre where you can get off for the National Museum of Wales, it then continues on down to the Bay where you can get off & have a look around and catch the next bus back to finish off the tour, stopping by the Milennium stadium and then back to the castle. The full tour lasts about 55 minutes and has a live tour guide to help you spot the landmarks as you go. The price is £8.00 for adults and £4.00 for children. The tours begin at the bus stop outside the castle and leave every 30 minutes between 15 March and 2 November and every 60 minutes during the remaining months. You are given a really handy map to go with the tour, the leaflet also contains adverts & money off coupons for selected outlets in the city.
Buses are available to reach the suburbs of Cardiff, other parts of Wales and beyond. Having said this, I tried to find a way to reach Builth Wells in Powys but couldn't find any transportation at all. Buses don't run there in the winter months..
I cannot comment on the schedules but one time we were waiting for a bus for ages and ages and then two arrived together...
Buses leave from colourful stands beside the Railway station.
Cardiff County Council is operating a new Express Bus Service from the City Centre to the Bay, making it even easier to move around the capital. The Bay Express operates in a continuous loop so that you can pick up the service every ten minutes up until 10.30pm at night. The buses also bear a distinctive 'Express' logo so that they are easily recognisable
The best way to see Cardiff is by our award winning green and cream open-top double-decker bus tour, accompanied by an expert guide who will bring the local history vividly to life. Your tour ticket is valid all day and the tour lasts approximately one hour but you can hop-on and hop-off at places of interest or visit the attractions
The public bus system in Cardiff is pretty good and pretty easy to figure out. We just read the bus stop notices, inquired of the driver if he was going where we wanted, and got on. Single fares are 1.50 GBP and 1.00 for children. We only used it a couple of times so did not check on a pass but I am sure you could get them for various periods of time.
If you fly into Cardiff during the day, there is a couple of public bus services which stop outside the terminal building and carry on into the city centre. The journey is about 45 minutes, and cost about £3. You'll need exact change (which could be a real pain if you've only got big notes on you)
I was staying in London and used my rail pass to take a day trip to Cardiff. It's two hours from London's Paddington station and you can have the whole day there before heading back to London. Buses also go from London and take just over 3 hours.
Here's the Rail Europe site: Rail Europe
For direct link to BritRail timetable click here: BritRail
The Bay Express service has now been replaced by the 'bay car' service run by Cardiff Bus.
The bendy buses run every ten minutes on a circular route from the city centre to the bay. Stops in the city can be found opposite Queen Street Station, on Greyfriars Rd, St Mary Street and the south side of the train station.
Stops in the bay include the Red Dragon Centre, the Wales Millennium Centre and Cardiff Bay train station.
Tickets cost £1 one way, £1.50 return. Or you can buy an all day ticket for £3 on any Cardiff Bus service.
Cardiff Bus run all around the area and frequent approx every 4-6 minutes depending on the area. You might be lucky to get a happy bus driver - just ask him where you want to go and to give you a shout at your stop. Most are happy to help :o)
Park and ride for match days- I believe also used as normal park & ride for shoppers on non-match days. Cardiff City Football Club, Leckwith Road. Bus runs into city centre every 5mins or so and takes about 5 minutes.
Is well signed off motorway.
We found a huge queue waiting for the return bus after the game, so we went for a drink, the queue was even longer on our return and we decided to walk back to the car, it took about 20 minutes, we figured we would have still been in the queue. If we had have know we would have walked directly from the Millennium, and it would have taken about 10 minutes, check your routes and for cheap parking the short walk is worth it- of course you can queue for the return bus if you want.
There is also parking in Sophia Gardens but you have to get there early and expect to waiting to get out after the game.