Cardiff is a vibrant and growing city, one in which increasing numbers of people want to live, visit and work. Our sporting and music events attract hundreds of thousands of visitors making a vital contribution to the life and economy of the city.
However, this growth also has consequences that are not so positive. Congestion, poor air quality and road safety are impacting on us all. To tackle these issues and allow Cardiff to continue to be a place that we can all enjoy it is vital that we have an integrated transport system that works for us all.
I am therefore pleased to see the ambition shared by Cardiff Council’s Leader, Huw Thomas today at the Active Travel Conference, which if realised could see a very different Cardiff by 2030.
We need to ensure that, for those who can walk and cycle, active travel will be their first choice for shorter journeys. Some of Cardiff Central’s primary schools are worst affected by poor air quality and hit by congestion at school drop off and pick up time and yet these are some of those shorter journeys. Making Cardiff a 20mph city and creating safe walking and cycling routes will allow this to happen.
For the longer journeys and for those who can’t be so active we need the investment in the metro. Many people in Cardiff Central depend on public transport and many more tell me they that they would like to use it if they could. The recent threats to bus services in Cardiff and response from my constituents demonstrated the importance of having a comprehensive bus service. At my meeting with Cardiff Bus they told me that their costs are higher by 10% because of congestion. That 10% is critical to the future of Cardiff Bus.
The proposals to invest in creating dedicated bus routes, use environmentally friendly vehicles, integrated ticketing and free bus passes for young people should enable many more people to use buses and for the buses to move more freely around the city.
I continue to push the Secretary of State for Transport and the Secretary of State for Wales for the long overdue investment in Cardiff Central Station. In Wales, we have 12% of the rail network but only 5% of the budget expenditure. I’m looking forward to supporting Cardiff Council and Welsh Government in this ambitious plan to ensure that Cardiff is an active, green and connected city.