21 Dec 2022
Today as Transport for Wales (TfW), we publish our Corporate Strategy.
At TfW, we’re changing how people travel for the better. We’re here to help the people of Wales to make more sustainable travel choices. We need fewer people travelling by car and more taking public transport, wheeling, walking and cycling. Our Corporate Strategy, 2021-26 details how we’ll achieve this transformation in transport behaviour.
The climate emergency is the greatest challenge of our time. The actions we take in response to that challenge need to protect us now and in the future, here in Wales and beyond. As set out in Llwybr Newydd: The Wales Transport Strategy 2021, public transport has a significant part to play when it comes to achieving net zero by 2050. Continued investment in our public transport network is necessary to inspire people to move away from car travel. Though there are some challenging times ahead, it remains an exciting time for transport in Wales.
Our Corporate Strategy outlines key priorities and objectives to challenge and overturn longstanding transport behaviours by changing the perceptions of public transport and enabling modal shift. We remain committed to delivering our significant programme of transformation across public transport in Wales, allowing the people of Wales to live in a greener, cleaner and more connected society and environment.
In challenging circumstances, we’ve already achieved a lot we can be proud of.
On behalf of the Welsh Government, we manage the Active Travel Fund (ATF) programme, the largest transport funding programme available to local authorities. In 2022/23, we invested £48 million in these projects. We’ve established an ATF support programme to help local authorities develop and deliver their projects, assigning regional advisors to provide support, guidance and expertise. We’ve also established an Active Travel Advisory Forum, bringing together key stakeholders to promote TfW’s active travel activities and enable collaborative working. We’ve worked with local authorities across Wales to develop 15 active travel station network plans that identify and prioritise active travel routes to selected train stations. In November, with funding from the Burns Delivery Unit, we supported the opening of cycle storage facilities in both Cardiff and Newport.
We are also working closely with the Welsh Government, local authorities and bus operators across Wales to deliver a range of bus projects. During the pandemic, we worked at pace with Welsh Government to provide support and implement solutions for struggling operators, and together we continue to reform the bus network. We introduced our fflecsi demand responsive bus service and have now implemented this service across 11 pilot sites in Wales. We’ve piloted integrated bus and rail on the TrawsCymru network, and we've worked in partnership with Gwynedd Council, the National Park Authority and Gwynfor Coaches to implement the Sherpa’r Wyddfa bus service across Eryri National Park.
On the rail network; we’ve replaced 60 outdated Pacer trains and started introducing our brand-new class 197 trains. We've added an extra 20 carriages to our network and refurbished almost all of our existing fleet. We’ve introduced more services and lowered fares for young people; while six of our major stations have been upgraded and refurbished. We've made significant progress building the South Wales Metro, undertaking track and signalling improvements and the installation of overhead line equipment to electrify the Core Valleys Line.
However, there are some big challenges ahead. We face a period of economic uncertainty and the rising cost of living. The war in Ukraine has put pressure on the cost of materials. Public transport is still recovering post-pandemic. Despite this, I am continually impressed by the sheer level of commitment and determination shown by our colleagues and partners who are delivering for the people of Wales. Over the next five years, we’re going to work hard to make public transport, walking, wheeling and cycling the easiest way to travel in Wales.
Looking forward, we'll continue supporting our 22 local authority partners across Wales on behalf of the Welsh Government to improve walking, wheeling and cycling opportunities. We’re working to widen the availability of cycle hire and secure cycle parking across Wales, and to improve provision for the carriage of cycles onboard public transport. We’ll continue collaborating with local authorities and other partners to enhance first-mile and last-mile access to public transport. We’ll accelerate the delivery of active travel infrastructure across Wales, including the introduction of on-street bike hangars.
To improve bus services throughout Wales, our partnership with bus operators, local authorities and the Welsh Government will continue. We’ll integrate timetables and ticketing options with our rail network to strengthen the connectivity between modes. We’ll continue to decarbonise the TrawsCymru fleet over the coming years and we’ll be supporting the Hydrogen Bus project in South West Wales.
We’ll continue introducing new trains, including our first Stadler Class 231 trains in early 2023 and the continued rollout of our Class 197s. Our new Metro tram trains will be arriving at Taff's Well depot for testing from mid-2023, before entering service in 2024. We'll continue our work designing and building Metro, to deliver the significant improvements needed to make sustainable transport the easiest option for travel across Wales and the border regions. Finally, we'll continue transforming our stations, upgrading track and signalling infrastructure to enable timetable improvements and additional train services.
While there will be some visible improvements as we work to deliver this transformation, our customers will experience some disruption. There will be a lot of engineering work, most of which we’ll complete at night with our partners from Amey Infrastructure Wales and Network Rail. This ensures that we can keep trains running during the day and our staff safe. It does mean, however, it may be noisy for our trackside neighbours and may mean temporary road works in some areas. We’ll keep our customers and the communities we serve informed and work hard with our colleagues to minimise the impact as much as possible.
As we upgrade our trains and train depots, there will also be periods where train services could be disrupted, have fewer carriages or will use trains different to the ones our customers were expecting. Again, we’ll work hard to minimise this impact and keep our customers informed of any rail replacement buses. We’ll makes sure journey information on our website or app is kept up to date with changes to our services.
We’ll also be training our colleagues to use our new trains, meaning that new trains will be moving around the network but not in passenger service. Work will continue at stations as we upgrade platforms, car parks, footbridges, ticket machines and buildings. This may cause frustration to the public but, ultimately, this work will ensure that customers enjoy a far better and safer experience in the long-term.
I wish to acknowledge that the people of Wales and our border regions have already shown TfW a considerable degree of patience as we work to transform our public transport network. We do not take this for granted. However, we must ask for more.
This work is crucial when it comes to tackling the climate emergency, and we must ensure that our commitment to tackling it doesn't waver, even in the face of the difficult road ahead. With 17% of carbon emissions in Wales coming from transport, we need a mass shift away from use of the private car. This aim is ambitious and, therefore, our programme of transformation is equally ambitious. I would like to thank the people of Wales for their ongoing patience and support as we make this journey towards a more healthy, prosperous and environmentally friendly Wales. I hope you find our corporate strategy informative, and we look forward to delivering it on your behalf.
TfW's Corporate Strategy is available here Corporate strategy, 2021-26 | Transport for Wales (tfw.wales)