THE new contract for the Cardiff Airport Express bus service has been awarded to New Adventure Travel.
The decision to award the contract to the operator has been welcomed by Welsh Government transport minister, Edwina Hart.
The service, operated by First Cymru until August, 16, has faced political and public scrutiny since it began operating in August last year with passenger numbers perceived as low for the frequently operated buses.
The bus has been dubbed the "M T9" by some Vale residents.
The timetable will remain unchanged and New Adventure Travel will continue to provide the service between the city centre, Cardiff Bay and the airport.
The Vale Council awarded the contract following a tendering exercise. They will also manage the contract.
Edwina Hart said: “We have listened to the findings of Professor Stuart Cole’s report about improving this service and it will continue to provide the fast, frequent public transport link to the city centre that passengers expect. Having quality public transport links is vital to ensure that Cardiff Airport continues to grow.”
Vale Council cabinet member for transportation, Lis Burnett said: “I am very pleased that New Adventure Travel will be taking over the service. The companies who tendered were all of the highest quality which I believe proves the value of this service. Having the infrastructure in place, such as the express service and the Rhoose Railway station shuttle bus, will help the airport grow which can only be a good thing for the Vale of Glamorgan and Wales.”
The Welsh Government commissioned an independent report, by Professor Cole of the University of South Wales, to review the effectiveness of the T9 shuttle service.
The report found that despite a number of challenges the service, launched in August last year, had made a good start and achieved all that was expected of it in delivering a fast and frequent service between the city centre and airport, which was expected of most airports.
It found passenger numbers appeared to have exceeded initial estimates and the service was already attracting more passengers than the more established train link.
Civil Aviation Authority figures revealed Cardiff Airport handled 1.07million passengers in the 12 months to June - an increase of almost 7 percent on the previous year.