Metro to provide connections between Valleys people need

First Minister Carwyn Jones AM has offered a commitment that the new South Wales Metro will improve transport connections between the Valleys in response to a question from Cynon Valley AM Vikki Howells.

The Cynon Valley Assembly Member raised the matter after the Economy, Infrastructure and Skills Committee at the Assembly heard evidence from Council Leaders that the South Wales Metro needs to connect across the Northern Valleys and not just strengthen links to and from Cardiff.

Vikki Howells AM had previously suggested, in an article jointly written with Caerphilly AM Hefin David, that the move to the ‘turn up and go’ integrated public transport system associated with the South Wales Metro could tackle isolation and improve economic opportunities. However, to do so it would have to improve transport links between and within Valleys communities, and not just enhance one-way flows into the Welsh capital.

Vikki Howells AM asked:-

“Would the First Minister agree and commit to ensuring that this happens?”

In response, the First Minister noted that the location of the new Transport for Wales offices in Rhondda Cynon Taf marks a commitment from the Welsh Government to Valleys communities but emphasises the importance of cross-valley links, which would initially be delivered by enhanced bus services.

First Minister Carwyn Jones AM added:-

“We know there are many people who do look to commute across the Heads of the Valleys, and commute from one valley to the other. The railway lines that once connected those areas are long gone. That means, of course, that we need to look at how we can upgrade bus services in order to provide the connections that people need”.