Getting around in Cardiff is relatively easy thanks to an efficient public transport network and the pedestrian-friendly nature of the city centre. New arrivals who would prefer living in Cardiff’s quieter outlying areas rather than the bustling centre can rest assured that commuting into the city is quick and efficient.
Owning a car in Cardiff isn’t strictly necessary, but parents and those who intend to explore the Welsh countryside may find it useful to have their own set of wheels.
Public transport in Cardiff
Buses are the most common way to get around Cardiff. The bus service, operated by Cardiff Bus, is extensive and covers 72 routes across Newport, Cardiff and the Vale of Glamorgan. Buses in Cardiff are fairly punctual, with some services running 24 hours a day.
Bus fares are affordable and can be paid contactless, with cash, mobile tickets or group travel cards. The iff card, a reloadable fare card, is the most cost-effective for regular adult commuters, while the My Travel Pass Card is designed specifically for travellers between the ages of 16 and 21.
Newcomers to Cardiff can email a printed application form to the Cardiff Bus customer service team and receive their iff and My Travel Pass cards through the post.
With more than 20 stations across Cardiff and the surrounding areas, trains are a fast and scenic way to travel around Cardiff. The Valley Lines, operated by Transport for Wales, has two main railway hubs: Cardiff Central and Cardiff Queen Street stations.
Cardiff Central is great for travelling in and around the city centre, while Cardiff Queen Street station connects Cardiff’s valleys and suburbs to the central areas. The only downside to the railway line is the lack of 24-hour services.
Another scenic means of travel are Cardiff’s water taxis. One such water transport company is the Aquabus, which operates an hourly service between Cardiff Bay and the city centre.
Taxis in Cardiff
Finding a taxi in Cardiff is fairly painless. Taxis can be ordered online or by phone and can also be found in marshalled taxi ranks. New arrivals can hail black licensed cabs (hackney carriages) in designated areas across the city. We recommend newcomers confirm the fare with the driver before embarking on a trip, as payment is in cash. Ride-hailing apps such as Uber are also available.
Walking in Cardiff
Cardiff is relatively small, flat and crisscrossed with pedestrian pathways, which makes exploring the capital’s network of picturesque lanes and back alleys an absolute treat. The city also boasts plenty of green spaces in which to take a leisurely stroll or a jog.
Driving in Cardiff
Newcomers in Cardiff might want to think carefully about whether they require a car. Parking in the city is limited and comes at a hefty price, while fuel costs keep rising. The city’s traffic congestion can be terrible, particularly during rush hour and major sporting events. Nevertheless, a vehicle can be convenient for new arrivals with kids and those looking to travel outside Cardiff.
There are three Park and Ride sites around the city, allowing motorists to safely park their cars and continue their commute on public transport. There is also affordable parking outside the city centre for newcomers who don’t mind a short walk.
Driving in Cardiff is straightforward, and the roads are easy to navigate, apart from the potentially confusing junctions in the city centre.
Cycling in Cardiff
Cycling is becoming increasingly popular in Cardiff as the city develops more cycling lanes and facilities. OVO Bikes, operated by NextBikes UK, runs a comprehensive pedal and e-bike sharing programme allowing cyclists to use an app to rent a bicycle daily, monthly or on an annual subscription. The bikes can be picked up and dropped off at the many docking stations throughout Cardiff.