THE operator of the controversial Cardiff airport express bus has confirmed it will bid for the right to operate the service, from August 17.

First Cymru served notice on the Vale Council on June 9 informing it that it would cease its contract to serve the route between Cardiff and the airport, on August 16.

The normal procedure now allows all operators, including First Cymru, to apply under the re-tendering process so that a service may start the next day.

A First Cymru spokeswoman said: "We can confirm that we have recently de-registered the current T9 service as our contract with the Welsh Government and Vale of Glamorgan Council has reached the end of its agreed term - that being August 16.

“This is a normal procedure. The original short term contract was extended to this date, while the Welsh Government completed its review of the service. Some changes are, we believe, due to be made to the T9 Service - taking into account the findings from the review - and as such the contract is due to be re-let. We will, of course, be bidding for this work and hope to secure it."

Vale MP, Alun Cairns said the termination of contract must be used as an opportunity to better serve local residents.

He said: “It is only right that we want to see public money used in an efficient way. Residents in Barry and across the Vale have had their services decimated, whilst huge sums have been spent on an express service to the airport that few people use. Common sense must prevail.

“I understand that the council will be looking closely at the recommendations of Professor Coles’ report, which was published yesterday to ensure that any new contract meets the report’s recommendations.

“Whilst I welcome this news I hope that they Vale Council will use the retendering process to reduce the frequency of the service and to use the money saved on local services.”

Vale-based AM, Andrew RT Davies said it was reassuring that First Cymru planned to re-tender for the T9 service.

He said: “Clearly efficient transport links are integral to the success of Cardiff Airport and a shuttle service is required if passengers are going to view it as a viable option when planning their flights.

“One thing which concerned me, when Professor Cole published his recent report, was the fact that he ruled out allowing ordinary passengers to use the service. Given that the T9 has contributed to the loss of a bus service for many Vale residents I would like to see this reconsidered.

“Limited access at certain points along the route would increase the number of passengers using the service and reduce the subsidy required by the Welsh Government to make the T9 economically viable.”