Wales

Cardiff Bus losses need tackling, Conservative group leader says

Cardiff Bus vehicle
Image caption The company said it had halved its losses over the course of 12 months

Action needs to be taken to stop Cardiff Bus losing money, an opposition councillor has said.

The council-owned company says it lost £886,000 before tax in 2018/19, on top of £1.9m lost the year before.

It has blamed the lack of a central bus station, along with congestion, competition and online shopping.

Conservative group leader Adrian Robson said loss-making routes may need cutting, but the company insisted it was "turning the corner" into profit.

In January, Cardiff Bus announced it was scrapping 12 routes to save money, but the council's Labour leaders stepped in to save six of them, according to the Local Democracy Reporting Service.

Image copyright Joel Williams
Image caption The new bus station is not due to open until 2021

The company has admitted its income has been affected by the closure of the bus station in August 2015 to make way for a new BBC headquarters and Cardiff University's school of journalism.

Councillor Robson said: "If Cardiff Bus keeps making losses like this, the council - as the shareholder - will have to make a decision on the future of public transport in the capital.

"It will not be an easy conversation. We will need to see where the routes are that are not making money and see what more the council can do to improve the staff-union relations, which have been difficult."

In January, trade union Unite said Cardiff Bus was at "crisis point", and its members would not accept proposals to cut holiday allowances or change overtime and weekend pay.

A Cardiff Bus spokesman said it had halved its losses and "forecast returning to profit in the current financial year".

He added: "We don't envisage cutting routes or making employees redundant. Rather, we are working hard to increase ridership and are in discussions with our union partners to improve efficiencies."

Cardiff Council has said it expects work on a new bus station will begin this summer, with the aim of it opening in 2021.

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