The Council has welcomed a £4m investment made by bus operator Stagecoach to provide a luxury Gold service on a second major route in Rhondda Cynon Taf.
The 120/130 Blaencwm/Blaenrhondda to Caerphilly route – which also serves Treorchy, Tonypandy, Porth, Pontypridd and Nantgarw – is now benefitting from new high-quality vehicles that were launched at an event at Coleg Y Cymoedd’s Nantgarw Campus on Monday, December 11.
Coleg y Cymoedd principle Judith Evans, alongside Stagecoach Managing Director Nigel Winter, cut a ribbon at the event to launch the Gold service.
The £4m investment has provided 24 new vehicles for the route, each equipped with free Wi-Fi, USB charging points, bilingual audio and visual next stop announcements, e-leather high back seats, increased leg-room, low-floor access for wheelchairs, pushchairs and commuters with limited mobility, and the latest Euro 6 stop/start engine management technology.
Councillor Andrew Morgan, Leader of Rhondda Cynon Taf Council and Cabinet Member with responsibility for Highways, said:
“Encouraging more people to use public transport in Rhondda Cynon Taf is a priority for the Council, and earlier this year we completed the upgrade of the bus stops on the route of the 120/130 service.
“The introduction of these new buses by Stagecoach demonstrates our partnership in action and will be welcomed by regular users, including students, many of whom we provide with a bus pass as part of our generous college transport provision.
“The Council has undertaken a number of projects to improve the experiences of people using local bus services – including upgrades to Tonypandy Bus Station and the Catherine Street bus stops in Pontypridd, which were both completed this year. There is also good progress being made in the ongoing improvements to bus stops along the Strategic Bus Corridor from Tonypandy though Tonyrefail to Talbot Green.
“I welcome the 120/130 service’s Gold upgrade, which follows closely the announcement by Stagecoach last month that the 122 Tonypandy to Cardiff route is expanding. If more people use local bus services it will improve traffic flow by reducing congestion, while also improving the environment.”
Ken Skates, Cabinet Secretary for Economy and Transport, added:
“These vehicles represent a significant investment by Stagecoach, the latest of several in the South Wales Valleys in recent years. I am sure passengers will be just as impressed with these new buses as we are.”
Nigel Winter, Managing Director of Stagecoach in South Wales, said:
“Our Gold buses have been designed with our customers’ needs in mind. We appreciate that on journeys, such as the Blaencwm to Caerphilly service, our customers value the use of free Wi-Fi and USB charging, so they may spend their time commuting productively, and welcome greater comfort and more environmentally-friendly engine in the latest Euro 6 stop/start technology.”
Coleg y Cymoedd Principal Judith Evans added:
“This investment by Stagecoach is very welcome – our learners need good, reliable transport to access the college campuses. Our learners will have access to enhanced facilities which allows them to study as they travel and they will be able to monitor bus times so that they can travel safely and arrive on time.”