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Helping Wales go to town without the car
On 'In Town, Without My Car!' Day the Minister for the Economy and Transport, Ieuan Wyn Jones, has set out how the Assembly Government is helping people to take part today.
Ieuan Wyn Jones said:
“Providing people with a real alternative to using the car is one of our key aims for the future of transport in Wales, as set out in the draft National Transport Plan
“We are committed to making public transport easier to use and creating more opportunities for walking and cycling.
"For example we have introduced the Safe Routes in Communities scheme with a budget of £10 million a year, double the amount for the previous scheme.”
On top of that £4 million was awarded to local authorities this year for cycling and walking schemes.
The Minister also recently announced £3.2 million funding for the Valleys Cycle Network, £2 million for the Pen-y-Clip foot and cycle bridges in North Wales and £1.5 million towards the Calzaghe Bridge in Newbridge.
The Minister explained:
"In addition we are working hard to improve public transport, both by increasing the services available and connecting up different modes of transport.
“For example, over 650,000 concessionary bus passes have now been issued since we started the scheme, allowing many more people to benefit from free bus travel throughout Wales.
“Making public transport easy to use is essential if we are to encourage people to cut down on car use. That is why we support Traveline Cymru to improve information to passengers and are investing in new technology to create an all-Wales transport card, which people will be able to use for all forms of public transport.”
Environment Minister, Jane Davidson, said:
“There are a whole range of reasons why we should get more people in Wales – young and old – walking and cycling more often.
“The latest Welsh Health Survey notes that 57% of adults in Wales are now either overweight or obese and simply walking or cycling instead of taking the car, especially for short journeys, will help to address that.”
Ms Davidson explained that 19 per cent of all car journeys in Wales are less than one mile, and 63 per cent are less than five miles.
"If more of us walked or cycled we could make a real difference to our carbon footprint and help to fight the effects of climate change. We rely far too much on the car for short journeys," she added.
The Assembly Government provides more than £1million funding to Travel Line Cymru, the public transport information service for Wales, which helps people plan their journey by public transport. Visit the Travel Line Cymru website for more information.
The Welsh Assembly Government invests £30million a year in local bus services and £60 million a year for the concessionary bus fare scheme.
More than £160million a year is invested in rail services and infrastructure, including new lines and services like the Ebbw Vale line and the north-south Wales express services.
The Assembly Government is also expanding park and ride facilities and provides support towards care sharing schemes like Liftshare to promote more efficient use of cars and reduce congestion in town centres.
Mr Jones added:
“We are investing £14million over two years to make Cardiff the first sustainable travel town in Wales.
“We will shortly be naming three other centres in Wales that will benefit from this scheme to create truly integrated transport systems for Wales’ key urban areas.”