Here’s how £1.6bn record transport funding is being used across Wales
Brand new trains, hydrogen fuelled buses and tripling walking and cycling routes - these are just some of the ways the Welsh Government plans to ‘make the right thing to do, the easy thing to do’ according to Deputy Minister Lee Waters.
The Deputy Climate Change Minister - who has responsibility for transport - provided an update on how transport plans are progressing across Wales while at a visit to see electrification rail works taking place in Radyr.
To date the Welsh Government has invested more than £1.6bn on a series of transport programmes across Wales which will be essential in helping the Welsh Government deliver carbon reduction targets.
As part of this plan key partners, including local authorities and Transport for Wales, have been tasked with developing regional transport plans for all four parts of Wales.
These will ensure services meet the needs of the community.
Deputy Minister Lee Waters said:
“We are all focused on building a new transport system that is high quality and sustainable.
“I want to make the right thing to do the easy thing to do and that means encouraging more people out of their cars to walk, cycle, or use public transport.
“We do that by improving our public transport and active travel network routes – it makes sense that people will choose to travel this way if low carbon transport options become more attractive, more affordable and easier to use.”
“It’s also the right and responsible thing to do for the environment and essential as we work towards a stronger, greener, fairer Wales.”
Here’s what’s been happening across Wales so far:
North Wales Metro
Transforming rail, bus and active travel services across North Wales is a key factor in reducing rural isolation and opening up employment and leisure opportunities across the region.
For the first time in generations direct services between North Wales and Liverpool have been reinstated with active travel routes opened helping to connect locals to bus and train stations in Flintshire, Wrexham, and Gwynedd.
More than a quarter of journeys are already made by walking and cycling, but over the next 20 years we need to increase this to over a third if we are to meet our carbon targets.
That’s why plans are being put in place to further improve connections to stations near Bangor, Flint, Holyhead, Llandudno, Llandudno Junction, Colwyn Bay, Shotton, Deeside, Wrexham, Rhyl and Prestatyn. Work is also under way to progress a forward-thinking masterplan for Holyhead which recognises its critical role in transport and economic development.
Swansea Bay and West Wales Metro
Work on creating an integrated transport network in the Swansea Bay area is progressing well.
While detailed development and design work takes shape, the Welsh Government has taken steps to make changes to improve public transport and active travel in the short term.
This includes the popular decision to combine bus and rail tickets on the T1 Traws Cymru service linking Aberystwyth and Carmarthen and converting the vehicles and depot facilities to battery electric operation.
As part of this more immediate work TfW is also developing two large scale pilots for Swansea Bay and the Haven Waterway to introduce a fleet of hydrogen fuel cell buses by the mid-2020s, supporting the wider decarbonisation of the bus fleet in Wales.
Increased capacity on services to West Wales and between Southwest Wales and Manchester are planned, as well as developing options for additional and faster intercity mainline services, complemented by a comprehensive, high frequency bus network serving urban areas in Swansea, Neath, Llanelli, and Port Talbot.
South Wales Metro
Work is progressing at pace to upgrade the rail network, public transport hubs and active travel routes across south Wales.
The development of Cardiff’s new multi-modal transport interchange in the heart of the city provides passengers with a more enjoyable experience and safer environment with on-street bus stops, taxi, active travel provision and improved connectivity to Cardiff Bay.
The striking new £100 million Integrated Control Centre and train depot at Taffs Well is making great progress and will play a key role in increasing the number of services on the core valleys line, as well as housing the new fleet of tram trains. Some people are already benefitting from the new trains with a plan for up to 95% of all rail passengers to travel on the new trains by 2025.
As well as rail, bus services are being reviewed with local authorities and industry partners to develop a more effective and integrated public transport network. As part of this system the Welsh Government is investing in a Pay as You Go ticketing scheme using contactless debit/credit cards. Building on the success of a pilot in North Wales last year, a trial will operate on train and bus services between Cardiff and Newport later this year.