a VirtualTourist member asked on Aug 8, 2015
I booked a room at the Sleeperz Hotel right next to where the Central Bus Station/train station is (or should I say was) not realizing that on Aug 1 they shut it down for construction. Now we are getting dropped off at Sophia Gardens and I am a bit worried as my coach bus from London arrives at 2:20 in the morning. I have never been to Cardiff (am from the US) and wondered if it is relatively safe to walk this at night? If not, is there a public bus I can take or will taxis be my only option? (And will there be an easy to flag taxi or do I need to prebook this)? I thought I picked the best hotel as it was right next to the station so I am a bit upset - but thankful I realized this now and not at 2 in the morning on the side of the road! Thanks for any advice you have!
Yes, the closure took us all by surprise, and I am astonished that National Express are dropping off all the way out in Sophia Gardens rather than in the same place as Megabus opposite the Hilton or in one of the underused stops in Greyfriars Road. I would not recommend walking it at any time of the day, particularly with any luggage, and there will be no service buses at that time of day either, there used to be services taking clubbers out of town in the early morning, but not the other way. National Express may well have organised a rank of taxis to meet their early morning services or there may be a shuttle minibus stopping outside the castle or near the former bus station, you would have to ask the company but it would be safer and simpler for a first time visitor to Cardiff to get a taxi straight to Sleeperz hotel (which is fantastic, with helpful staff.) There are many fine taxi services in Cardiff, all with reasonable prices, I think the minimum fare is £5 after midnight but that should be enough to take you to your hotel. There is a list of taxi firms in Cardiff online, they are all good, but there are favourites and more reliable ones, message me if you want a recommendation, I will not do a business any favours on the forums.
Maybe the closure took National Express by surprise as well? In this instance, stopping by the Hilton would be no nearer the hotel than Sophia Gardens.
As you will be arriving late at night imo it would make sense to pre-book a taxi in advance (not for safety, just for convenience...you don't want to be hanging around for ages after you get off the bus). It's unlikely that National Express will have organised taxis to meet the bus imo because UK taxis are only licensed to stand at ranks so can't just hang around in the hope of collecting customers.
As a first step I'd certainly contact the hotel to see if they can arrange a taxi pick-up for you. They may well be able to do so.
Here's the listing of Cardiff taxis:
Expect to pay for 'waiting time' if the bus is delayed, so maybe organise the taxi for ...say..10 minutes after the bus is due to drop you off?
If you don't want to do that just stick a load of taxi numbers into your phone and call one when you actually arrive.
It is a great pity that the member above will not give personal recommendations. That is an important part of what VT-ers do. Imo, it's certainly not 'doing a business a favour' if the recommendation is truthful.
Well, being as it would make the life of the person asking the question easier, I will give the name and number of the company I usually use, as they have a large number of cabs and a lot of drivers working at unsociable hours of the morning.
It is Capital Cabs, the number is 02920 777 777, or there is a freephone number useable from any landline in Cardiff, 0800 666 666. The best option is using the website to book a cab in advance, but this is reliant on the National Express coach arriving on time, and most people are aware that this seldom happens. [original link] I would suggest you book one for 2.30am, a lot of clubs in Cardiff kick out at 2am so they tend to be busy between 2 and 3. Enjoy your visit, and if you need any recommendations about Cardiff do not hesitate to ask.
Thank you. I'm sure that is very helpful to the OP...and, after all, you did give a personal recommendation for Sleeperz! :-)