A new integrated transport hub for Porth and facilities to improve bus services in the east of Cardiff have secured funding from the £1.2bn City Deal for the Cardiff Capital Region.
The City Deal for the ten local authorities of South East Wales that make up the Cardiff Capital Region (CCR), has already ringfenced a funding contribution to rail’s first phase £738m South East Wales Metro project with electrification of the Core Valley and Coryton Lines.
Now it has confirmed backing for the ‘Metro plus’ projects from a potential £50m funding pot which was announced back in March last year.
The funding includes £15m from the City Deal, with a potential for co-investment of £15m from Welsh Government.
The remaining £20m will be sourced through local developer contributions, private sector investment and other contributions such as local authority capital funds.
Metro plus phase one projects include the Porth Interchange.
The CCC, through its transport authority, has now agreed £225,000 towards the first phase of the scheme, located on the site of the former Alec Jones Day Centre and just yards from Porth Train Station.
It will include a new seven bay bus station, a ticket office, taxi drop off, electric vehicle infrastructure, a park and ride and cycle facilities — potentially for the Next Bike rental scheme.
There would also be a new ticketing system to link bus and rail journeys.
The CCC has also agreed £85,000 towards the so called East Cardiff Bus Priority initiative, which incorporates a series of sustainable and active travel packages that will enable improved bus connections.
It will also enhance a wider scheme to connect three primary cycle ways and make pedestrian safety improvements. The first phase funding will specifically support the completion of the full design proposal for the bus priority measures.
The remaining proposed schemes for Metro plus include:
- A 3-4 mile rail link from Abertillery to Ebbw Valley at Aberbeeg, including a park and ride for 100 vehicles.
- A new transport interchange for Caerphilly, on the site of the current bus and rail stations, complete with electronic information, electric vehicle charging for buses and a larger Park and Ride facility.
- A bus and rail interchange at Barry, complete with four to five bus bays, provision for taxis and the potential extension of the existing Park and Ride site.
- Implementation of a park and ride facility at Pyle as part of the development of an integrated transport hub that serves the local community and the nearby settlements of Porthcawl, Kenfig Hill, Cefn Cribwr and Cornelly.
- A new bus interchange and link between bus station and rail station in Merthyr, as well as the creation of a Park and Ride facility at Pentrebach.
- The provision of an additional 150-200 space car park on the south side of Severn Tunnel Junction station, complete with 40 additional bike and ride spaces, safer walking and cycling access, a revamped bus-rail interchange, electric vehicle charging spaces and an improved station building.
- A park and ride facility at Pontypool and New Inn Station with a minimum of 200 spaces including electric vehicle charging
Improvements to the Newport to Cardiff bus corridor to increase bus use and improve journey times, along with the introduction of a park and ride facility to the east of Newport.
The CCR’s transport authority has also endorsed the Metro enhancement framework (developed by Welsh Government) and the common assessment framework (developed by CCR) to be used as tools to weigh up transport investment proposals going forward.
Moreover, approval has been given to further develop proposals identified within the electric vehicle taxi strategy recently produced in collaboration with Cenex (an independent not-for-profit low emission vehicle research and consultancy organisation).
Kellie Beirne, director of the CCR City Deal, said: “The Metro phase 1 programme roll out is hugely significant for us. Activating a programme of local sustainable transport schemes means that our local communities can start to see and feel the benefits of the wider Metro ambitions and we are delighted that our recently introduced common assessment framework has ensured that both the Porth and Cardiff East projects are embracing the need to add value by exemplifying shifts towards a greener more sustainable future.
“With a shared common purpose, we are working collaboratively with Welsh Government, aligning our programmes, adopting a co-funding approach to ensure that we maximise the value of our endeavours to ensure that the future is not about doing the same things better but rather it is about doing better things. We look forward to Metro plus 2.”
Leader of Bridgend County County Borough Council and chair of the CCR transport authority, Huw David, said: “We have progressed the Metro plus phase one, the Metro enhancement framework and the common assessment framework, and are pleased to be able to provide updates on these.
“These updates will help us to move these projects forward as we head into 2020 and work to benefit the wider communities of the Cardiff Capital Region.
“Transport is one of the most important issues facing the region over the next couple of decades, and it is critical we bring about these improvements and enhancements in the months and years ahead.”
Minister for Economy and Transport, Ken Skates said: “We are committed to improving the transport network across Wales and awarded £3.5m to the Cardiff Capital Region Metro plus programme for the development and design of regional transport priorities. Both the Porth Interchange and East Cardiff Bus Priority will benefit from this funding.
“The South East Wales Metro schemes will make a big difference to people’s lives, improving the accessibility and choice of modes of transport, and we look forward to seeing their development.”