Have you ever considered the impact travelling has on the climate and your own personal carbon footprint? Following all the heavy rain we experienced in February it seems a good time to examine what we as individuals can do to combat climate change by simply modifying our means of travel and moving away from our reliance on the motor car. Public transport is significantly cleaner than cars as trains and buses convey significantly more people. They also help to reduce road congestion by reducing the number of car journeys.
The main difficulty with public transport in the Tenby area is the poor frequency of services. Our local train timetable has hardly changed in the last 20 years. The service frequency is still two hourly. Transport for Wales is planning massive investments in the train services in Wales but this is mainly confined to the south-east and north-east of the country. To date they have introduced a new hourly service between Chester and Liverpool and introduced newer trains on their route to Gloucester. Correct me if I’m wrong but these services are in England not Wales. Transport for Wales?
Pembrokeshire may see some improvements in terms of the actual trains with cascaded rolling stock no longer required by other operators but the service frequency will probably remain at two hourly. Tenby Civic Society has been campaigning for better train services with improved connections at Swansea into main line services but has found it is very difficult to make any difference as there is resistance to change at Transport for Wales. It’s well know that if you want more people to use public transport you need to provide a more frequent service but that costs money. Surprisingly the Tenby and Pembroke line is now the busiest line in Pembrokeshire and receives at best a second class service from Transport for Wales.
Tenby Civic Society has also been campaigning to try and improve local bus services and to try and persuade Welsh Government to operate a long distance route from Tenby under the TrawsCymru brand. Approaches and suggestions have been made to Pembrokeshire County Council to make minor amendments to local bus services but again these have resulted in little progress to date. The council usually have a long list of objections to changing bus services including the classic one that the proposed service would be too popular and hence need a bigger bus! Silly me, I thought getting more people onto bus services was the whole idea. A suggestion made to Welsh Government to extend the Swansea to Carmarthen service (Traws Cymru T1S) to Tenby serving Kilgetty, Saundersfoot and New Hedges as well as Tenby is currently under consideration. If timed correctly this service could provide a connection into the Carmarthen to Cardiff service (TrawsCymru T1C). This would provide an express bus service as an alternative to the train. The All Wales Concessionary bus passes are valid on these services and currently Welsh Government is allowing free travel to everyone on weekend services (Saturday and Sunday).
As yet the south of the county has not benefitted from the TrawsCymru network while the north of the county enjoys two services. Again it is worth noting that to persuade people to use bus services a good frequent service must be provided starting early in the morning and operating until late in the evening. Unfortunately our county council is more concerned with saving money and cutting bus services than providing a decent service for residents and visitors alike. The days when County Council’s existed to serve local people appear to have gone.