Priority A - Integrated Transport for Wales
The transport network should be seen as a national social provision that could be effectively marketed through publicity and ticketing. The initiative should be taken to introduce a universally accepted ‘Smart Card’ for local transport on a national level. We would encourage the development of walking and cycling routes as part of the integrated strategy.
Wales has a rich resource of Tourist Railways which, in some places could be fruitfully used as local public transport and marketed as part of the integrated network, notably the Ffestiniog and Welsh Highland railways, and the Llangollen to Corwen railway.
Integration should consider realistic long-distance rail connections with ferry routes, notably Fishguard Harbour, Pembroke Dock and Holyhead.
An Integrated Transport Strategy should be developed for freight as well as passenger transport. Freight is a growth sector for the railways; the missing links should be identified in rail freight provision, especially to the West Wales ports, such as Milford Haven.
Priority B - Community and Rural Transport
Critical to the health, well-being and economic sustainability of rural communities is access to health, employment, shops, and leisure and community services.
The making of serious provision should be looked at for rural bus services to run to time, and imposing penalties - and offering refunds - where there are consistent failures in the delivery of the advertised timetable.
Whilst rural communities rely on their subsidised bus services, we have to ask whether there is any opportunity to fund Community Minibuses run by a coalition of local voluntary groups (such as WRVS, youth organisations, churches and local health trusts).Local Minibus Trusts could radically improve the transport options available to people in rural communities, pooling individual minibuses for wider use. We would urge that the excellent work undertaken in Pembrokeshire on promoting accessible, sustainable local community transport is made the benchmark.
Priority C - Investment in Cross Wales Links
Strategic road links between the North, South, East and West should be improved where there are no realistic rail alternatives. It is recognised that strategically and sensitively placed bypasses can re-invigorate town centres, notably Talgarth. Dualling of trunk routes can improve journey times and safety.
Priority D - Fairer Taxation of Road Use
A significant proportion of the population in rural Wales are forced to make round trips of significant distance to access employment and key services. Whilst recognising that taxation policy is in the hands of the Westminster government, we would urge consideration be given to the impact of fuel tax and road tax upon businesses and individuals in rural communities and develop a strategy fit for Wales that could be implemented if and when.
Priority E - Cardiff Airport
It is critical to international trade and tourism that Wales has a strategic air link properly connected to the rest of Wales and the South West of England. With the electrification of the South Wales rail network, including the Vale of Glamorgan, a significant priority must be to provide a physical rail link (either heavy rail or light rail) from the airport to the East and to the West.
This must be supplemented by improvements to access roads to the airport.
Priority F - Further Devolution of Transport Strategy
The Devolution Settlement should be examined to assess whether further Devolution of Transport Responsibilities would benefit the economy of Wales, and give greater autonomy over Transport Policy and Funding as has been granted to the Scottish Government.
i. Inclusion & Social Justice.
Christians are called to act justly, love mercy and walk humbly with their God. Transport provision and access to transport is more than a matter of personal choice, it is a matter of social justice. This is increasingly true as we become a more elderly population, and as our towns and cities become more densely populated.
Good transport provision is vital for access to work, to medical care, to relatives, to worship.
Many people have to surrender their licenses and find themselves trapped at home, or reliant on others.
Tourism and growth of the economy can be stimulated by effective transport provision.
ii. Environmental Stewardship.
Christians are called to act as stewards of the planet. The practical outworking of this is to ensure that the resources of the earth are not exploited for selfish gain, but used responsibly and shared widely for the common good of all God’s people.
Conservation of resources, reduction in CO2 and other emissions, and the protection of green spaces are all part of responsible transport planning.
Priorities should balance the need to protect the environment with the need for provision of effective services.
iii. Building of Community
The early Christians pooled their resources and lived as a community. Sharing of transport promotes conversation and fellowship, reduces social isolation and enables rural centres to thrive, enables access to local facilities. Recent studies have shown that bus services play a significant role in delivering people to town centres to work and shop and meet, to access services and to make use of leisure facilities.