Wales has inherited a fragmented and uneven transport infrastructure. Creating a national transport system fit for the 21st century is crucially important for our wider social and economic goals as a nation. We will use our new democratic mandate to demand the full devolution of powers over railway, taxi, bus services and air passenger duty to Wales and the full application of the Barnett Formula to HS2, and use our new power to borrow to invest, together with the new National Infrastructure Commission, to meet our strategic aims for transport.
Our policy initiatives include:
- connecting the nation, with good links between north and south, and regional networks in our main urban areas
- making public transport more affordable and attractive; ensuring that there are viable alternatives to the car
- transport solutions that work for rural Wales and its particular demographic and geographic challenges
- achieving environmental goals and a more sustainable society
We would scrap the wasteful and environmentally harmful HS2 project. This would not only avoid the destruction of important habitats, it would also allow us to instead invest public transport infrastructure more fairly across the UK. HS2 currently swallows up a third of the UK Government’s support for rail. It is clear from published and leaked reports that HS2 will cost far more than the planned £56bn. Now is the time to stop this vanity project and redirect that investment to areas, such as Wales and the north of England, that really need it.
We will produce an exciting vision of a Welsh National Railway service, uniting the nation, north and south, country and city, community-to-community. Plaid Cymru supports public ownership of the railway, and so we will continue to seek full and unrestricted control over the awarding of future rail franchises We will ensure that dividends and profits are reinvested and redistributed back into Welsh rail services.
We will endeavour to secure new trains for our country and are committed to investigating the different options for rolling stock ownership, including owning our own trains. We will secure improvements for the safety of the public on the railway network by improving lighting, CCTV and disabled access to stations, and consulting on an alcohol ban on late-night trains.
Rail infrastructure is currently reserved to Westminster, but a Plaid Cymru Government would work towards changing this and would aim to electrify all major rail lines. We will complete the planned electrification of the South Wales Valley Lines. The next line to be electrified should be the North Wales Coast Line. We will identify locations for new stations across the network. We will also continue to invest in developing existing rail stations as hubs for wider commercial development and urban regeneration, including retail and co-working/office space. We will re-open railway lines across Wales to create new links between communities, beginning with the Carmarthen to Aberystwyth line.
Buses are a critical part of public transport and the mobility of Welsh citizens. They have an importance in both urban and rural Wales, and also a strategic long-distance role connecting our key towns.
- re-regulate buses, introducing a Transport for London-style franchising system, in partnership with the new regional combined authorities
- deliver better integration between bus and rail by providing capital investment for interchanges as part of our future investment plans for rail infrastructure, and providing cross-ticketing
- we will protect bus passes for those currently eligible, which is a lifeline for many of our citizens, and will expand the demand-driven Bwcabus scheme in parts of rural Wales where a regular bus service is not viable
- we will expand the Traws Cymru service as a national bus service that serves major towns across the country, prioritising those communities without regular rail connections
We want to move Wales towards more sustainable transportation. But in a country characterised by a dispersed settlement pattern of villages and valleys the road network in Wales will remain critically important for generations to come.
Decades of under-investment and a skewed emphasis on the west-east routes designed originally for exporting goods have left us with one of the most fragmented national road networks of any nation in Europe.
The road network in Wales is valued at £13.3bn and requires considerable expenditure for maintenance. We would target our spending at specific packages of improvements and aim to spread resources across Wales unblocking temporary bottlenecks in our roads network throughout the country and using a range of interventions not just new road construction.
We will take an All-Wales approach to our investment in Wales’ road network and in road safety, focusing on improving North-South links in addition to the investment needed in the main East-West transport corridors.
- invest in improvements to the A55, including a programme of investment in hard shoulders and junction improvements
- invest in the further development of dualled 4 lane sections along all of Wales’ strategic internal routes to enable slower freight traffic and faster car traffic to coexist safely
- improve the road corridors in west Wales between Carmarthen and Llandysul, and between Newcastle Emlyn and Cardigan
- investigate the feasibility of ’hydrogen highways on our strategic roads with hydrogen fuelling stations available throughout Wales and a hydrogen-fuelled coach service
- work with the private sector to introduce additional public electricity charging points across Wales to promote the use of electric vehicles. We will also start the transition towards a wholly electric fleet of public sector vehicles
- support increasing the number of 20mph zones, particularly around schools, but also in any neighbourhoods where there is local demand
We support transferring the responsibility for ports policy to Wales. This would offer the prospect of increased attention to the infrastructure needs of Welsh ports and the potential for a new relationship between government and industry.
Wales’ share of UK port traffic, at around 10% is higher than our population share, reflecting our coastline and geography. Most Welsh ports are privately owned, but there is a role for government in supporting infrastructure development around the trust ports in particular.
- develop a ports strategy for Wales, focusing in particular on opportunities in freight and distribution, cruise tourism and renewable related developments. This strategy will be backed up by an up-to-date study of market trends, assessing how Welsh ports can best adapt to the future usage of larger container sizes by the major shipping companies
- bring forward plans for investment in Holyhead, Cardiff, Newport and Milford Haven
- review road and rail connections to ports as part of our National Transport Plan
Active travel refers to the need to replace short car journeys, including commuting, with walking and cycling. Wales has serious health problems which would be mitigated if more people took up walking and cycling for routine short journeys.
- ensure that walking and cycling is integrated with bus and rail services
- raise the level of funding per person on active travel within Wales
- ensure that active travel considerations are incorporated into the planning system