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Last Updated: Wednesday, 24 May 2006, 14:19 GMT 15:19 UK
Bendy buses take to city streets
Bendy bus
The bus can carry 135 passengers in one go
Bendy buses have taken to the streets of Cardiff to cope with rising passenger numbers in the city.

Cardiff Bus has bought 19 articulated buses, which can take 135 passengers at one time, compared to 73 on a standard bus.

The buses will operate from this weekend, mostly on the 17/18 Ely route and the city link to Cardiff Bay.

The 18-metre long vehicles have cost a total of 4.5m and are equipped with air conditioning, TVs and CCTV.

The buses went on display to the public in Cardiff's Queen Street on Wednesday where people were invited on board to see the facilities.

Jean Carroll
Sometimes it is standing room only when the children come out of school at the moment but lots more people can get on board now
Jean Carroll, passenger

Sixty drivers from Cardiff Bus have been trained to drive the new buses.

John Orton from the company has been instructing them.

"It is a bit different to drive because these are articulated vehicles and of course the length," he said.

"It is the longest bus that is allowed in Britain, so the drivers have had to have extra training in reversing and going around corners."

He said the technology of the new buses meant cornering should not present too much of a problem.

Mervyn Hill, from Cardiff Bus, said: "They are a lot more comfortable than the other buses and in the future we are hoping to adopt a system of a smart card ticket, which people can top up like a mobile phone and just swipe it when they get on board."

The bus already includes black box technology to provide the control room with information about the vehicle's location and how it is being driven.

'Fits the bill'

Passengers will also have digital information about the next stop and any route changes.

Jean Carroll, from Cardiff, was one of those taking a look at the buses.

"I think they are really nice and it will be a lovely way to get to the Bay on a Sunday," she said.

Inside the bus
It will run along the busiest routes in the city

"And they are so much bigger, sometimes it is standing room only when the children come out of school at the moment but lots more people can get on board now."

Clare Gatenby and Trisha Turner were also impressed.

"They are really nice, I'm looking forward to using them," said Ms Turner.

"But I'm worried about how mothers will manage with double buggies because there didn't seem to be an awful lot of room on there.

"Yes, it looks like a bit of a squeeze but I can't wait to have trip on them," said Ms Gatenby.

First Minister Rhodri Morgan, who attended the event, said: "The Welsh Assembly Government wants a world class 21st Century transport system providing modern, affordable and environmentally friendly travel for everyone."

"This new fleet of buses fits the bill perfectly."


BBC NEWS: VIDEO AND AUDIO
See the launch of the bendy buses in Cardiff



SEE ALSO:
'Bendy bus' cells for prisoners
13 Feb 04 |  Beds/Bucks/Herts
City first to use new bus fleet
22 Feb 06 |  North Yorkshire


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