One of the reasons why we have little choice but to use our cars and the M4 to get around Newport (and to go to work) is because of the lack of any reasonable alternative easily accessible means of public transport. By now even the Welsh Labour government has finally run out of tired excuses and soft weasel words to hide their inaction and failure to deliver much beyond sound bites and logo laden graphic images.
|Occasionally seen but rarely advertised...|
The simple but abject failure to connect the Ebbw Vale line to Newport means that commuters living in communities in the Ebbw Valley still remain unable to travel directly to Newport (and beyond) by train and have a real choice but to use their cars. They are denied the opportunity of catching connecting trains to Newport, Bristol, London, Cheltenham and beyond as well as possibly travelling slightly more rapidly to Cardiff in the morning and evening as result of the failure to run a fast service direct from Abertillery to Cardiff as originally promised.
This leaves commuters no choice but to drive to work and help to feed the congestion of an already at times overcrowded M4. The Ebbw Vale line, at least to Cardiff, which reopened in 2008 and carried a years worth of anticipated passengers in the first few months, made a real difference. It's a fact that the new rail service failed to connect to Newport from day one - despite the implied promises and suggestions made before and since the railway line was reopened.
Ironically to all intents and purposes is already open – trains already run by stealth on occasions from Ebbw Vale into Newport and vice versa. The rail line and the signalling works fine – what we need is a regularly timetabled rail service - preferably now rather than later. Long overdue decisions about our infrastructure could make a real and significant difference and begin the process of providing realistic alternatives to everyday car use.
Construction of railway stations at Caerleon / Ponthir, Llanwern and Magor - with well planned walk routes, safe, secure park and ride. Any railway stations should also include decent facilities which would make a real difference - along with the reinstatement of a more functional bus service (that's connected to the new railway stations). Elsewhere in Europe where significant housing developments are planned the infrastructure - often railway stations, tram stops and transport hubs are constructed first before any houses are built - but just not here.
By now the Welsh Labour government (even with new leadership) has run out of old excuses and soft weasel words to hide their failure to deliver. Our transport and infrastructure problems require political solutions and political decisions - something that will not come from the current incumbent inert Labour government in Cardiff Bay. With a post BREXIT world rapidly approaching- some hard sensible sustainable longer term choices need to be made with a degree of urgency - one of those should be to start work on (those parts of) the Metro that will make a real difference.