Cardiff City fan

Claire Walters, Chief Executive of Bus Users UK has been talking to Cynthia Ogbonna, the first female MD of municipal bus company, Cardiff Bus.

Like her predecessor, Cynthia joined Cardiff Bus as Finance Director in 2004. The role gave her a broad overview of the company and in 2012, Cynthia became the first female Managing Director in the operator’s 110 year history.

Cynthia’s passion for Cardiff is immediately apparent. She is committed to making the City as accessible as possible and would like to see more measures to actively encourage people onto buses: “Bus priority measures (bus lanes to improve predictability of journeys), smart ticketing, anything that makes buses more affordable and attractive as a means of transport will naturally encourage more people to use them.”

Another way Cynthia believes modal shift can be achieved is a workplace levy that enables employers to actively encourage their staff to travel to work by bus: “Bus journeys need to be simple, convenient and attractive” she says, which is one of the reasons why Cardiff Bus will shortly be introducing contactless payments for passengers.

The company won’t be going completely cashless, however, as social inclusion is something else Cynthia is firmly committed to: “Equality of opportunity is extremely important to me and making buses accessible and affordable, to everyone, will help to achieve that.”

Night Buses are another solution and some Cardiff Bus services run 24/7, helping people in low paid and entry level jobs to get to and from work at any time. Cynthia also wants to encourage young people to use the bus, especially at the point when they’re beginning to think about owning their own cars, and Welsh politicians: “Buses should absolutely be the best choice for accessing Cardiff and there should be no impediment for members of the public and politicians, to be able to get on board.”

Cynthia believes the bus industry has suffered from a perception problem in the minds of the public: “Other transport industries, like rail, are certainly not shy when it comes to self-promotion.

Companies like Cardiff Bus are now doing more to promote a positive self-image for the bus.”

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