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South Wales Integrated Transport Task Force

Interim Report to Minister


The Minister for Local Government and Communities announced the creation
of a Task Force to consider integrated transport for South East Wales on 4
December 2012. In partnership, the Welsh Government and Sewta (South
East Wales Transport Alliance) lead the Task Force consisting of the rail and
bus industries (Network Rail, Arriva Trains Wales, Cross Country, First Great
Western and the Confederation of Passenger Transport), Sustrans Cymru,
Wales TUC, CBI Wales, WLGA and the Public Transport User's Committee
are also key members. Cardiff Business Partnership, Bus Users UK, Traveline
and others are also supporting.
The aim of Welsh Government and Sewta is to provide a strategic lead to
ensure the development of the future public transport network is coordinated
and delivered under a holistic vision. The Welsh Governments securing of
Valley Lines and Great Western Main Line electrification is the key catalyst for
this development. Additionally, the Task Force recognises that the Welsh
Government has already put in place major investment in public transport,
including new stations and rail reopenings, new rail services, the TrawsCymru
strategic bus network and collaborative innovative finance initiatives such as
the Local Government Borrowing Initiative (investing over 170m additional
capital to improve public highways).
The Task Force also recognises that the Welsh Government is determined to
develop policies to stimulate and strengthen our economy - concentrating
resources where it can add the most value - acting as an enabler of growth in
the economy and generating employment. The Wales Infrastructure
Investment Plan is a clear demonstration that this Government is committed
to growth and jobs, leading a core principle for future investment in
infrastructure a Wales with a strong economy, a Wales with 21st Century
networks for transport, IT and energy, a low-carbon Wales, a skilled and
efficient Wales with strong public services.
To achieve this vision across the South East Wales transport network, it will
be essential that strong collaboration exists between the public and private
sector, maximising the opportunities for investments to deliver future
networks.
The Task Force's aim is to develop a vision of a sustainable modern
integrated public transport system across south east Wales, assisting
economic growth and job creation and improving accessibility for
economically inactive people to employment centres, and also promoting
social cohesion and reducing poverty.
The Task Force is required to submit recommendations by 31 March 2013,
including:

a vision statement and recommendations on branding measures and


sponsorship;
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potential infrastructure improvements which could be accelerated for


delivery over the remaining period of the National Transport Plan;

network measures including expanding opportunities for through ticketing


and improved passenger and public information, and the further
development of active travel;

funding, and obtaining commercial and other funds for delivery; and new
governance and delivery arrangements.

The Task Force's vision statement is:


VISION STATEMENT - An integrated and high quality transport system that is
easy to use and enables people to travel in a sustainable, active and
affordable way. As part of this vision, the aim is to:

Connect communities to centres of strong economic activity to


stimulate regeneration and development and provide opportunities for
people.

Provide recognisable high quality services, effective accessibility, and


enhanced passenger information and through ticketing.

Existing Constraints
Through analysis of the existing transport network and current travel patterns,
the Task Force consider that the issues to be addressed are:
Capacity - Lack of capacity on specific sections of the transport
network in relation to demand and identified pinch-points.

Connectivity - Poor east-west connectivity between key settlements.

North-South Links - Lengthy journey times and limited frequency for


north-south journeys from the periphery to employment centres.
Inter-regional Links - The need to provide for inter-regional
connectivity.
Catchment - Limited reach of the public transport network to places
off the current bus/rail network.
Urban Movement - The need to develop a transport system that caters
for urban growth in the regions cities.

Governance arrangements the Task Force considers that unified


partnership delivery arrangements are required to achieve the holistic vision,
but without creating new agencies initially.
The future public transport network
The key to delivering a modern integrated transport system is to create a
network of bus and rail services providing fast and frequent journey
opportunities. The electrified rail network in South Wales will play a major part
in this.
Valley Lines electrification will reduce train journey times, with all stations
becoming under an hours travel time from Cardiff city centre. Combined with
the current Network Rail Cardiff Area Re-signalling this opens up the
opportunity for a step change in the number of trains per hour with the
potential to introduce turn-up-and-go services on the main corridors from
Pontypridd and Caerphilly - and increased capacity.
To maximise opportunities from rail electrification to those outside the
immediate catchment, effective interchange facilities with connecting bus
services, parking and walking and cycling links must also be provided
wherever possible, typically at the heads of the Valley Lines rail branches,
valleys confluences (like Abercynon and Pontypridd) where rail branches and
bus routes intersect - and at main line stations such as Bridgend and
Newport.
There should be frequent, fast, reliable bus and rail services and new routes
should be established with quality services better connecting existing
communities, employment centres and the enterprise zones. For example,
Ebbw Vale Town would benefit from a new station. Consideration needs to be
given to a potential package of mixed heavy rail / light rail / bus - solutions to
better connect areas in and around Cardiff, including the Llantrisant / Talbot
Green growth area and M4 junctions 33 and 34, providing a frequent rapid
transit system to / from central Cardiff / Cardiff Bay / Enterprise Zone. There is
a need for improved cross-Cardiff links, including active travel. This would
significantly increase the reach of the public transport network to major
residential and development areas.
The new services and routes would be developed incrementally alongside
and following Valley Lines electrification. The more major developments anticipated to deliver substantial benefits - eg the Cardiff / Bay area rapid
transit system - require significant further technical development and value for
money consideration.
The Task Force has commissioned specialist advice on unique and
identifiable branding for the network and tickets.
It will also be producing a map of the proposed future public transport
network, highlighting its recommended priorities.

Other recommendations will include:

Improving awareness and expanding integrated through ticketing which


can be already available - across rail and bus services, with an easily
understood and affordable fares structure;

Improved passenger information that is easily obtained from a single


source;

Bus partnerships through which local authorities and bus operators will
cooperate to provide improved and rationalised routes and services; and

A timetable that supports unified integrated transport and that sets clear
aspirations for maximum journey times and minimum frequencies to and
from key points.

Funding the Investment


The significant cuts in Welsh Government capital budgets imposed by the UK
Government will result in a real term reduction of 45 per cent between 200910 and 2014-15. If this decline in direct public sector funding is to be
mitigated, the Task Force believes that we must look to innovative /
collaborative options to realise the economic and other benefits of bringing
forward much needed infrastructure projects which would otherwise be
delayed by many years, or possibly not happen at all.
The Task Force acknowledges that - despite rail responsibility and funding
currently remaining non-devolved and the retained responsibility of the UK
Government - the Welsh Government has secured major investment in rail
electrification for Wales. Including the Paddington to Swansea and Valley
Lines programmes, this totals some 1.2billion. To complement that major
building block, the Task Force will;

recommend some acceleration of key schemes identified within the


National Transport Plan and Regional Transport Plans and options for
delivering this investment.

look to identify schemes for the longer term which can be considered in
developing the post-2015 transport planning framework, and where
feasibility and value for money need to be further appraised but which
would be key to delivering the goals of an integrated transport network,
such as new public transport services and routes, to link existing and
developing communities with employment, leisure and service centres greatly expanding the reach of the public transport network.

look to recommend areas where opportunities exist for combining


public and private sector funding to optimise the delivery of the
potential future network, including European Funding. This would
facilitate both the acceleration of schemes for early development and
the longer term delivery.
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recommend that existing public sector funding streams for public


transport in south east Wales should be prioritised to focus on delivery
of its recommended future network and associated measures.

identify scope for rationalising existing spending and integrating


investment - for example in major road improvements, economic
development, enterprise zones and regeneration schemes - with public
transport measures.

As with all transport schemes, it will be necessary to follow best practice on


consultation and environmental assessments as well as ensuring that the
work in the region is integrated into wider Welsh Government Programme for
Government priorities. The zero based strategic planning approach for the
new Transport Planning Framework will afford an opportunity for this process.
Delivery and Governance Arrangements
The Task Force is reviewing the range of delivery vehicles that could be put in
place to implement its recommended investment programme, taking account
of models and experience elsewhere in the UK and internationally.
The Task Force is still considering appropriate delivery arrangements. It
considers that the initial priorities for delivery from 2013-14 are:

combining public and private sector funding to optimise the delivery of


the potential future network, and preparing bids for both early
deliverables and longer term developments under European Funding
while seeking to maximise funding from other sources;

Commencing the substantial technical appraisal and development of


ideas for the longer term network;

Developing unified reporting and accounting lines on coordinated


investment to Welsh Government and the Sewta Board;

Bringing forward delivery on network development, branding and


collaborative funding;

Drawing together public sector, transport industry, private and third


sector engagement and partnership in management and delivery.

In the initial phases, the Task Force considers that this could be done by
drawing together and building on existing expertise within the Welsh
Government, Sewta, Private Sector partners and the transport operators as
opposed to creating a new agency, which, if considered, would take an
appreciable period of time to put in place. More detail will be included in the
Task Force's final report.
The Outcome
The network plan will highlight an enhanced, comprehensive public transport
network offering faster journeys between more locations.