Service X5 in Cymru

Making bus travel simpler for thousands of customers

New technology is being rolled out across all First Cymru buses this spring, making travel quicker and simpler for thousands of passengers.

From the end of March, adults boarding buses will be able to use Tap On, Tap Off (TOTO), where they simply tap their bank card or payment device on card readers and pay the cheapest adult fare depending on the number of journeys they make and distance travelled.

Even if customers make multiple trips over several days within a week, the system will automatically calculate the cheapest fare providing the same payment method is used.

As part of the change, First Cymru is overhauling its fares for the first time in five years to make it easier for customers to know what they are paying. From Sunday 31st March, all adult tickets bought in advance from the First Bus app or from the driver will be a flat rate of £3 for a single, £5.40 for a return and £6 for a day ticket, and while a child ticket will be based on distance travelled, the maximum single and return fares will be £2 and £3.60 respectively, with a day ticket at £4. Child prices in Pembrokeshire will be slightly cheaper as part of First Cymru’s contract with the county council. Tickets can be used across all First Cymru services.

Customers using TOTO will pay depending on the number of miles they travel, with the cheapest fare costing £1.60 and the maximum costing no more than a flat rate single (£3) and return (£5.40) ticket. Again, prices in Pembrokeshire will be slightly cheaper.

Multiple trips in a single day using TOTO will be capped at the new adult day ticket fare of £6.

First Cymru’s Commercial Development Manager, Robert Sanderson, said: “We’re so pleased to be bringing Tap On, Tap Off to our buses in Cymru. Not only will it make it easier for customers to travel on our buses and therefore make journeys quicker, but it is also a more cost-effective way to travel.

“If you’re making a single journey, you’ll only pay for the distance you travel, and if you’re making a number of journeys - even across several days within a week - it will calculate the cheapest multi-journey fare. Using Tap On, Tap Off is a no brainer for regular and new customers who want simpler and hassle-free travel.

“Alongside TOTO, we’ve also been able to scrap the over-complicated fares system and streamline it to provide adults with flat-rate fares so they know exactly what they’re paying regardless of where they’re travelling.  

“Providing these simpler fares and introducing Tap On, Tap Off shows we’re doing all we can to encourage more people to make bus the travel of choice.”

The introduction of new technology and changes to fares comes as First Cymru announces it has won a number of contracts with councils to run additional services across south and west Wales.

Among them are:

  • Service 64 (Bridgend to Talbot Green) which replaces the Bridgend to Talbot Green section of the current service 63 and will continue to operate every hour.
  • Service 322 (Haverfordwest to Glangwili), which will link Pembrokeshire services to Carmarthen three times every weekday, enabling customers, for the first time, to travel between Pembrokeshire and Cardiff just using First Cymru buses.
  • Service 381 (Haverfordwest to Tenby), an hourly weekday service via Narberth and Saundersfoot.
  • Service 303 (Bridgend to Llantwit Major), an hourly weekday and every two hours on Sunday service, via Ogmore-by-Sea and St Brides Major.
  • Service 304 (Llantwit Major to Cardiff city centre), an hourly weekday and every two hours on Sunday service, via MOD Saint Athan, Cardiff Airport, Barry and University Hospital Llandough.
  • Service 320 (Talbot Green to Cardiff city centre), a service every two hours during the week via Hensol and St Fagans.
  • Service 321 (Llantwit Major to Talbot Green), a seven times a day weekday service via Cowbridge.

In addition, there are also some minor changes to other existing First Cymru services, and in the coming weeks First Cymru hopes to provide an update on services in Swansea.

George Burton, Head of Network for First Cymru, said: “We’re absolutely delighted to have won numerous contracts with local authorities to provide services to so many communities across south and west Wales, ensuring our buses reach thousands more customers.

“With these new services and the improvements to fares and introduction of Tap On, Tap Off, we’re confident of building a much stronger network in Wales, and welcoming many more customers on board.”

The new fares will be effective from Sunday 31 March and new routes come into effect the following day on Monday 1 April (although this will be a Sunday service as it is Easter weekend), with new timetables available on the First Cymru website. Customers are urged to check details before travelling ahead of the new services coming into effect.