Urgent improvements needed at Cardiff Central Station – says National Assembly committee
Urgent improvements are needed to the 'ageing infrastructure' at Cardiff Central Station to cope with the demands of major sporting events in the Welsh capital, says a National Assembly for Wales committee.
The Enterprise and Business Committee has been looking into the problems some visitors experienced with public transport during the Rugby World Cup earlier this year.
The Committee was told that people were left queueing for up to four hours to catch trains after the first match at Cardiff's Millennium Stadium, although that time reduced as the tournament went on with waiting times down to two hours or less for the last five of the eight games in the city.
The Committee was also told that the Rugby World Cup games were unlike those held during the annual Six Nations tournament as most people travelling to Cardiff were coming from the east, with only five per cent of tickets for non-Wales games going to addresses in Wales.
"It is clear to the Committee that the ageing infrastructure around Cardiff Central Station is not up to the demands of coping with large passenger numbers in a short space of time, such as after a major sporting event," said William Graham AM, Chair of the Enterprise and Business Committee.
"Furthermore, we believe those involved in organising transport and crowd control during such events need to work more effectively and use all of the tools at their disposal.
"There is a positive aspect in that, for the last five games at the Millennium Stadium, visitor satisfaction improved greatly, demonstrating that there were steps available to ease congestion and waiting times.
"With the Champions League final coming to Cardiff in 2017, the eyes of the world will be upon us, presenting excellent opportunities to attract overseas visitors and explore business opportunities.
"It is imperative then that the lessons learned from the Rugby World Cup are acted on to ensure an enjoyable experience for all."
The Committee makes 9 recommendations in its report (PDF, 496Kb), including:
- Capacity improvement work should be undertaken at Cardiff Central Station as a matter of urgency;
- All stakeholders should urgently review the travel plan for major events in Cardiff. This should include steps to ensure there is a single, integrated command structure;
- Communication is key - greater efforts must be made by event organisers and transport companies to ensure fans are better informed of the options available and their expectations regarding queuing managed, and;
- Coach travel should have a greater role in travel planning, particularly while constraints at Cardiff Central Station remain. This should include use of coaches both as a main mode of travel but also as a contingency to relieve pressure at the station.
Image: Jeremy Segrott (Flickr) under Creative Commons