PEOPLE living in south-west Wales will have a chance to make their voices heard about transport options in their area.
The Welsh Government and Transport for Wales (TfW) are working in partnership with Carmarthenshire, Neath Port Talbot, Pembrokeshire and Swansea councils to develop proposals for the Swansea Bay and west Wales Metro.
Running for 12 weeks from today (Tuesday, March 16) the consultation presents options for improving rail services within the south-west Wales area. These include increased frequency of long-distance strategic services, increased local services from west Wales to Carmarthen and Swansea, new stations and improvements to existing stations, and development of a Swansea Bay and west Wales Metro network.
Minister for Economy, Transport and North Wales Ken Skates said: “These proposals look to the future, our recovery from Covid and the development of a high-quality, integrated transport system fit for purpose.
“They are all about making it easier to travel, whether by train, bus, bike or on foot. It’s about making it easier to get to work or school, to your hospital appointment or to get out and about in the evenings and weekends using public transport.
“I urge everyone with an interest to get involved.”
The Deputy Leader of Neath Port Talbot Council, Cllr Ted Latham, also the Council’s Cabinet Member for Streetscene and Engineering, said: “It’s widely recognised that at peak hours, congestion on both our local and strategic road network is a real problem in the region.
“I hope the south west Wales Metro project will look to create a modern, sustainable transport network to encourage the use of public transport, community transport and active travel routes to realise the capacity in our constrained road networks.”
Cllr Phil Baker Cabinet Member for Infrastructure in Pembrokeshire County Council said: “We welcome this consultation, as it will enable the people of Pembrokeshire to shape this significant transport project.
“As we emerge from this pandemic a fit for purpose public transport system will be essential to ensure our communities can travel to work, shop and socialise – it will also support our vital tourism economy. I would encourage Pembrokeshire residents to take part.”
Mark Thomas, Cabinet Member for Environment Enhancement and Infrastructure Management, Swansea City and County of Swansea Council said: “This is an opportunity for people in Swansea and the wider region to have a say, or express an opinion on how they would like to see transport services deliver what they want in the future.”
Cllr Emlyn Dole, Leader of Carmarthenshire County Council, said: “This is an exciting opportunity to explore options for improved public transport and connections to Carmarthenshire and further west, aligning with our aspirations and plans for the county which include targeted regeneration of our rural market towns.”
James Price, Transport for Wales Chief Executive, said: “Our aim is to deliver a transport network the people of Wales are proud of and to help us achieve this it’s vital we hear from as many people as possible.
“It’s an exciting opportunity to help shape transport plans in south-west Wales and we would encourage everyone to engage with the consultation.”
While the plans are undoubtedly ambitious, they are also undoubtedly expensive.
A commitment to delivering the whole of the scheme could take years to deliver and many millions of pounds to fulfil.
The scope of the project’s ambition could ultimately be determined by just how much the UK Government is prepared to stump up as part of its much-vaunted but seldom-spotted Shared Prosperity Fund to ‘level-up’ a part of Wales ill-served by public transport.
The consultation document can be found here: https://gov.wales/swansea-bay-and-west-wales-metro
The consultation period ends on June 8