For a route only four and a half miles long it packed a lot of interest, principally because it was for a significant period jointly worked by a BET operator, a THC operator and a Municipality.
Rhondda Transport Company's involvement with the service started in April 1936 with the takeover of D. Davies (Ynysybwl Motor Services), one of only two operators ever taken over by Rhondda.
Red & White was the THC operator but of course had been independent up to 1948. The initial involvement on this route was a brief venture in the 'twenties by Gough's Garage Co. of Mountain Ash, a company which was taken over by Red & White in 1936 (by which time they were known as Gough's Welsh Motorways), however they only ran until 1926 and it was a service operated by Imperial of Abercynon that was also taken over by Red & White in 1936.
It was when Red & White requested to transfer the Imperial licence that Pontypridd Urban District Council raised a counter-proposal. The deliberations were protracted but the conclusion was that in 1938 Red & White got their licence, Pontypridd got the powers to run to Ynysybwl under section 101 of the 1930 Road Traffic Act (as Ynysybwl was outside their district) but not a licence to do so. Pontypridd applied again in 1947 and this time they were granted a licence, along with Rhondda and Red & White.
Each operator had their own way of working the service and I will deal with them individually. The service certainly provided variety of vehicles and for several years the afternoon service would be worked by a Bristol Lodekka, an AEC Regent and a Guy Arab.
Rhondda allocated a vehicle specifically to the service and this was certainly a double-decker for many years. This meant crews having to travel to and from Porth where the Rhondda depot was.
Red & White worked the service from Aberdare but at the time this route was at its busiest there wasn’t a way out of the Cynon Valley for double-deckers at the south end and the fleet at Aberdare was all single-deck. The double-deck workings were therefore from Cardiff depot until the roadway under the bridge at Abercynon on what is now the B4275 was lowered, following which operation was concentrated on Aberdare depot.
Pontypridd’s bus only came out onto the service in the afternoon when the frequency increased.
Originally the route worked via Windsor Hotel in Ynysybwl but new housing developments resulted in an alternative route being introduced along Glanffrwd Terrace following an agreement made in May 1954. Each operator had their own way of describing this variant - Pontypridd used “Buarth Capel”, Rhondda used “Housing Estate” and Red & White used “Estate Junction”. Whilst Pontypridd never used numbers, Red & White numbered the service 183 regardless of which variant it was whilst Rhondda numbered it 410 via Windsor Hotel and 411 via Housing Estate. Clearly there was no possibility of passengers being confused!
From 5th October 1969 Pontypridd and Rhondda ceased working this service, and it became wholly operated by Red & White although still referred to as joint service with Rhondda/Western Welsh in timetables. At the same the service to Glyncoch (q.v.) became operated only by Pontypridd. In the early 1970s the workings via Windsor Hotel ceased and all journeys ran via Estate Junction. Red & White became part of National Welsh in 1978.
As will be seen, although Pontypridd stopped working the service, in Taff-Ely days at least the council picked up quite a few school contracts and these included ones to Ynysybwl.
From 26th January 1987 a Bustler minibus service was introduced by National Welsh, numbered Y3. This replaced the 183.
© David Beilby