A quarter of a million extra commuters in south Wales now leave their car behind to travel to work by train, reveals Arriva Trains Wales on National Car Free Day (Friday 22 September).
The railway operator has recorded a huge rise in the number of passengers boarding the train at ‘commuter stations’ on the outskirts of cities – with footfall even doubling at one site.
Over the last four years Gowerton station, popular with Swansea commuters, has seen a rise of 94% whilst an increase of 24% passengers now embark at Llanharan, near Cardiff.
Neighbouring Pontyclun station has also recorded a rise in footfall of 15%, and a further 12% boost has been recorded for Pyle near Bridgend.
Caerphilly and Cwmbran have also seen a large increase in the footfall of daily travellers commuting to Cardiff and Newport, with an increase in footfall of 9.1% at Caerphilly station and 6.5% in Cwmbran (in comparison to 2013 figures).
The boost in the number of commuters preferring to use public transport coincides with Arriva’s aims to encourage further increase usage of trains, highlighting the environmental benefits and savings in car fuel.
Arriva has completed a number of projects to improve its railways and public transport facilities to encourage travellers to consider trains as a more sustainable means of transport.
Improvements include the recent modernisation at Cardiff Central, with a new rear entrance to the station and a large number of bike racks installed at the back and front of the station.
There are now over 76 car parks and 40 free park and ride car parks next to railway stations and Arriva has made it easier for passengers to cycle to work, with an increasing number of its stations now offering bike racks.
This is part of Arriva’s station enhancement programme which aims to develop the facilities at stations, including station platform developments, bike racks, station shelters, car parks and more. A number of projects have taken place throughout Wales, including the Cardiff valleys railway modernisation scheme which is part of a 5-year scheme to improve the station facilities across South Wales.
Lynne Milligan, Customer Services Director for Arriva Trains Wales, said:
“We are committed to helping reduce carbon emissions in any way possible and encouraging more people to consider sustainable means of transport. National Car Free day is a great opportunity for us to demonstrate the huge rise we’ve seen over the last four years in people who are leaving their car behind and taking the train instead, and encourage others to try this too. It’s fantastic to see that a further 250,000 have chosen to use public transport, just across six of our stations in south Wales.
“We’ve carried out a lot of work to encourage our customers that commuting by train is the preferred means of transport including station platform development, installing bike racks, station shelters, and adding more car parks. Many of our station enhancement projects have been achieved through working in partnership with the Welsh Government and Network Rail. They are just one example of the efforts put in place to give customers a pleasant experience while travelling.”