The Metro Central scheme is to receive more funding, but what will the new transportation plans mean for the region?
Cardiff Capital Region (CCR) Cabinet agreed to back a new transportation project to improve connectivity and to boost economic growth in South East Wales.
The cabinet will allocate in principle £40m to the Metro Central Project, which will modernise the core Valley lines as well as the South Wales rail network, at least over the next five years.
Councillor Andrew Morgan, chair of the CCR cabinet, said it is crucial to have “appropriate infrastructure” in the region as more than 80% of “Cardiff’s recent job growth arises from an increase in net commuting into the city from adjacent communities.”
For Cardiff, the plans currently include the modernisation of the Central train station, a new bus terminal, and a cycle hub. The project aims to make public transport in and around the city more accessible and more effective in the future.
One potential option to improve transportation in the city includes a light rail system. Trams can carry a large number of people and allow for faster services.
Mr Andrew Potter, a transport expert at Cardiff University Business School, cautions against a possible economic imbalance in the region. Cardiff could “suck up all the jobs” if the Metro plans are not carefully thought through.
“It’s important that we retain jobs up the Valleys. What you don’t want to end up is with, say, Merthyr as purely being a commuter town for Cardiff,” Mr Potter said.
CCR Cabinet has unanimously agreed to support in principle the £180million re-development of Cardiff’s main transport hub with £40m of City Deal funding.
The proposed Metro Central project will deliver a new Central Transport Interchange at the heart of Cardiff’s city centre.
— CCRCityDeal (@ccrcitydeal) January 15, 2018
The Welsh government estimates Cardiff’s population will grow by more than 20% over the next two decades. The Metro Central project could deliver thousands of jobs and add £8bn to the region’s economy.
The transportation plan is part of the £180m City Deal programme. The agreement between the UK Government, the Welsh Government and ten local authorities of the Cardiff Capital Region intends to increase the region’s GVA through various projects.
Last year, a report by assembly members asked for more “political will” to tackle “the congestion on the bus industry in Wales.
“It is indisputable that slower journey speeds make bus travel less attractive to customers,” the report said.
Bus travel accounts for more than 80% of public transport in Wales. But services declined by nearly half over the last decade.