It’s all very well having a fancy new transport hub in Cardiff, but if the trains are still overcrowded, late and expensive it’s going to leave a bad taste in the mouths of residents and visitors alike.
Fortunately, Welsh Government is planning to tender for a new contract for the Wales & Borders rail franchise, but it wants to know what we want. Whilst this franchise goes beyond our local services, many of them come into and out of Cardiff at some point on their journey. It includes the long distance services to cities like Manchester, as well as the Valley Lines and Heart of Wales services.
This consultation document invites you to answer a range of questions and offers the opportunity to express views on the future of rail services in the Wales and Borders area. Your answers will assist in the development of detailed proposals for the next Welsh rail franchise, which will be the subject of further consultation and public dialogue.
The train is a natural ally of the bicycle. Not only does it keep people off the roads whom might otherwise drive, but it also facilitates multi-modal travel, allowing us to start or end our journeys by bike.
There are 21 questions to answer, ranging from priorities for improvement to ticketing. One that may be of particular interest to us two-wheeled folk is question 13.
Improvements are expected in all these areas, together with additional provision for passengers wishing to cycle to the station and be able to securely store their bicycle before joining the train for their onward journey. Provision of additional secure bicycle storage at stations will make a significant contribution to the Welsh Government’s active travel objectives.
It asks which station facilities we consider to be most in need of improvement and where, so if your local train station needs more bike racks, here’s your chance…
If you feel like having a crack at the 21 questions, you have until 18th March 2016 to do so.
What we would like to see is more space on trains, either by way of a separate car (as we get on First Great Western services now), or by more empty space in the passenger compartment for bikes, so that we can keep our bikes with us for the whole journey, not just the first leg.
Don’t forget, the Association of Train Operating Companies is also seeking our opinions at the moment too…