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THE HERALD FRIDAY SEPTEMBER 30 2016


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Wheeling in change... THERE’S a lot going with


transport in Ceredigion at the moment. On September 15, Councillor Alan Williams made a presentation on rural public transport to the Policy Forum for Wales’ seminar on ‘The future for transport policy in Wales’. The transcript of the whole event, which featured a number of speakers, including the Transport Minister, should be being published by Policy Forum for Wales. The transport roundup that follows is, for the most part, potentially good news for us all. As usual in our part of the


world, cyclists may find very little to celebrate, however.


HOURLY TRAIN SERVICE GROWING


Ceredigion’s AM Elin Jones has


welcomed ‘a significant growth’ in the number of rail passengers using the Aberystwyth to Shrewsbury line. An increase of 30% in passenger numbers has been recorded since the hourly service was introduced in May 2015. Elin Jones met with Arriva Trains Wales management this week and discussed services on the Aberystwyth to Shrewsbury line. Afterwards, Elin Jones said: “I’m


pleased that calls for the new and much needed hourly service have been a success, and there has been a significant growth in the number of passengers. The campaigners who called for this service will also be pleased. I’ve now asked Arriva to improve the service further by increasing the number of carriages and to minimise the number of cancelled trains. It was disappointing to hear that if trains are now cancelled, then they are not replaced by a bus, but rather passengers have to wait for the next train. I have asked Arriva to review this decision, in order to maintain a true hourly service.”


TRAWS LINK CYMRU UPDATE


A l s o


on rail services, or the lack of them, T r a w s L i n k Cymru is cont inuing with


Kelvin Mason Aberystwyth Reporter kelvin.mason@herald.email


between Aberystwyth and Carmarthen. Following the publication of the Scoping Study Report at the end of last year, seminars involving a range of transport stakeholders and user groups have been convened by the Welsh Government in Aberystwyth and Lampeter. Meanwhile, a WelTAG (Welsh Transport Planning and Appraisal Guidance) process has been carried out by the Transport Consultancy ARCADIS. This was due to report to the Cabinet Secretary for Economy and Infrastructure. Ken Skates, by the end of August. No details have yet emerged about the outcome of this assessment. The reinstatement of the


railway between Aberystwyth and Carmarthen was raised in the Labour Party Leadership Hustings in Cardiff in August, with Jeremy Corbyn commenting on the inadequate transport infrastructure in Wales. The Labour leader, now newly re- elected to that position, stated that he would like to see rail link between Carmarthen and Aberystwyth reopened. The matter was also the subject of discussion in First Minster’s questions in the Senedd earlier this month. Carwyn Jones responded to a question about the reopening of the railway by acknowledging that the idea had a lot of support and that a cost/benefit study was needed. He stated that work in this direction was ongoing.


PROMISE ON BUS SERVICE Clearly having a working week


defined by transport issues, Elin Jones AM has welcomed a statement by First Minister Carwyn Jones that action is being taken on the direct Aberystwyth to Cardiff bus. Speaking during the weekly questions session in the Senedd on September 20, Carwyn Jones told Assembly Members that the Government had been working with local authorities to ensure that key bus services to West Wales reinstated


are possible: its


campaign to reopen the r a i lwa y


as quickly as “We


expect the service to be reinstated within


Elin Jones AM: Involved with multiple transport initiatives


weeks. I remember the TrawsCambria service in the 1980s and went on it a number of times, but there is a


Critical mass bike ride in Aberystwyth: Campaigning for cycle routes in the town and safer cycling


long-term question here. We can’t continue with a system that sees services stopping because the bus company no longer runs. We have to have a better system.” This statement came following


discussions between Ceredigion’s AM and the Welsh Government. Last week, Elin Jones took up the matter with Ken Skates, Cabinet Secretary for the Economy and Infrastructure, asking the Government to work with Ceredigion Council on the issue. In response to Carwyn Jones’ comments, Elin Jones said: “I welcome the statement by the First Minister on the Aberystwyth to Cardiff service, but caution is needed. While he has said that he expects the service to be reinstated, we are yet to hear specific plans. What I do hope is that if the Assembly gains powers over bus services in 2018, there will be a long-lasting plan to secure these vital services which link our communities and provide essential travel to so many people across Ceredigion. I have had constituents contact me to say that they have had a lot of trouble getting to and from home without this service. One constituent was stuck in Carmarthen overnight when a train was delayed and the last bus to Aberystwyth had left. I urge anyone else who has been affected by the lack of service to contact me, and I will raise your case directly with the Government.” Locally in Aberystwyth, The


Herald can report that, just this week, the continuing Park and Ride bus service has extended its route as far as Morrisons at one terminus and up to


Waun Fawr at the other. The timetable for the revamped service is available online (www.midwalestravel.co.uk/ sites/default/files/503%20new%20 15092016.pdf).


CARS AND ROAD SAFETY According to research by the


Road Safety Foundation, Wales has the highest risk of death and serious injury on the roads in the UK with 30 fatal and serious crashes for every billion vehicle kilometres. The lowest is in the West Midlands with 17 fatal and serious crashes for every billion vehicle kilometres. Turning her attention from public to private transport, then, the indefatigable Elin Jones has secured a commitment by the Welsh Government to initiate a feasibility study into improving the junction at the Dorglwyd junction from Commins Coch joining the A487 near Aberystwyth. In a letter responding to calls from Ceredigion’s AM, Ken Skates said: “This is one of a number of potential junction improvement schemes within our upgrade programme and funding has been allocated to complete a preliminary feasibility study in 2016/17. Further development of the scheme will be considered for the 2017/18 financial year, subject to the availability of funding which is allocated on a priority basis against competing schemes.” Elin Jones welcomed the news,


saying: “The guaranteeing of a preliminary feasibility study is a much-awaited positive step that could see the Government tackling


safety on this problematic junction. Many people have campaigned for improvements in this area for a long time and we need to increase our efforts to make this happen. It’s important to note that the Cabinet Secretary pointed out that, after the preliminary feasibility study, this scheme will be then considered in the light of others, so I urge local residents with a particular interest in upping the safety of this junction to contact my office, and I will make further representations to the Government.” Switching lanes, Elin Jones


has again called again for safety improvements on the A44 between Aberystwyth and Llangurig. The stretch of road is known widely for its frequent, diverse and heavy use, and has notably been the scene of several fatal accidents in recent years. It is almost two years since the last minister for Economy, Science and Transport announced plans for a review into safety and committed to implementing ‘any subsequent recommendations’ on the A44. Since then, signage has been put in place in Capel Bangor, which has highlighted to motorists the need for caution near the village school. However, Elin Jones has told Ken


Skates that more attention to safety is needed along much more of the A44. Elin Jones told The Herald: “The A44 is a vital route for Ceredigion residents and businesses all year round, and provides a vital part of the infrastructure of Mid Wales. Research by the Road Safety Foundation found that the road was the most dangerous in Wales, and gave the road a ‘risk


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