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Cardiff consider road user payment scheme to finance public transport overhaul

Amongst a number of measures being considered by Cardiff Council to deliver a green transport network across the city is a road user payment scheme, although such a scheme would not be implement until 2027.  

Traffic in Cardiff is responsible for 40% of CO2 emissions – the joint highest among the UK’s 11 core cities – and seven per cent of adults there have been diagnosed with asthma.

a large building with a giant sign on the side of it

The suggestion of a road user payment scheme was made by the authors of a report submitted to the council which will be considered at a meeting later this month. The report advocates an expanded bus service with cheaper £1 fares, a new tram network, and enhanced regional links for commuters but adds that a congestion charge of some description would be needed to pay for it.

This report follows on from the Council’s Transport White Paper launched in 2020, which made clear the need for major enhancements to walking, cycling and public transport options across the city. The White Paper argued for a raft of new transport options. Cheaper and better bus routes, new train/tram lines, and an improved cycling network which could all help deliver a cleaner and healthier city, better able to play its part in tackling climate change. 

No specific traffic reducing measure has been recommended and the council will consider ‘a range of road payment schemes including, but not limited to, road user payments; congestion zones; clean air zones; and workplace parking charges.’

Cardiff Council leader Huw Thomas said: ‘A working public transport system can have a hugely positive impact on those who have to travel by road. And our transport system certainly does not work for the huge numbers of people who rely on it the most. The people and communities who rely on public transport are often the worst served by our bus and train services. 

Cllr Dan De’Ath, Cardiff Council’s Cabinet Member for Transport and Strategic Planning, said: ‘People tell us all the time that the public transport system in the city isn’t up to scratch. We know this is true, but if we are going to get the transport system we need, then we must find a way of helping to pay for it. At the end of the day, the government isn’t coming forward with all the money required. Right now, we believe we only get 10-15% of the funding we would need to make the changes required. So, we want to see if a form of road user payment – ringfenced to fund transport initiatives – could play its part in speedily delivering a clean, green, efficient, and low-cost system for Cardiff, while reducing our over-reliance on cars.’

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