A recent survey carried out on behalf of the European Union has found that Cardiff residents are more satisfied with their lives than residents in other UK cities such as London, Glasgow and Manchester. It's not difficult to see why either, as Cardiff is a modern city which attracts students, young professionals and families alike; in fact the city is regularly voted as one of the best cities for students to live in, and in a recent survey, Cardiff University was found to offer the best student experience in Wales.
Nevertheless, the city isn't without a few issues, one of which is its transport network. As Cardiff has grown over the years, its population, commercial zones and outer boundaries have expanded, meaning there are now more people travelling on the roads and using the railway network than ever before.
Cardiff, like most cities which witness rapid urbanisation and growth, has been somewhat slow to modernise its out-of-date transport network. To remedy this, Cardiff Council, the Welsh Government and private development firms are working together to improve Cardiff's transportation network, by revamping Cardiff Central train station, relocating the bus station and creating a new metro system across Cardiff and further afield.
In June, Cardiff Council and BBC Wales revealed that the Welsh broadcaster would relocate its headquarters to the Capital Square development area outside of Cardiff Central station. However, for this to happen, the bus station currently situated on the land needs to be relocated. Two possible locations have been touted: the Network Rail car park to the south of the train station, or the Marland House/NCP car park to the north of the railway line. A decision has yet to be made, but Cardiff Council has said that either location will enable the Council to “redesign our welcome to the world” while improving the access to and from the bus station, as well as bus travel throughout the city centre.
Cardiff Central train station has changed very little since it was built in the 1850s. However, plans have been unveiled by National Rail to radically modernise the station to ensure it fits with the design of the Capital Square development. The plans include expanding the front of the station outwards and constructing a wave-shaped roof and glass frontage, while developing new retail space, a multi-storey car park and office space. National Rail has stated that the work is desperately needed because the station is currently struggling to accommodate the 13 million travellers who use it each year, and passenger numbers are expected to increase by 67% by 2023.
Perhaps the most drastic idea proposed by Cardiff Council and the Welsh Government is the construction of a regional metro transportation system, which Transport Minister Edwina Hart has described as a “vital catalyst for economic regeneration”. Cardiff Council has stated that over 77,000 people commute into Cardiff each day, with many travelling by road. They hope that this number can be reduced by creating a metro system which not only connects different areas in Cardiff, but also improves transportation links between Cardiff and the rest of South Wales, from Merthyr to Newport. The entire metro network, which could be built by 2030, is expected to cost around £4bn and utilise trains, buses and trams.
Construction of the metro system, if accepted, would begin in three distinct phases; the first phase would see transportation improvements between the city centre and Cardiff Bay, the second would see improvements around Callaghan Square and Cardiff Central station, and finally the third stage would link Cardiff with surrounding areas such as Creigiau and Rhondda Cynon Taf. The Council has also started preliminary work on a timetable, ticketing and information service which are hoped to make travelling across the city quicker and easier. However, the Council believes this information service will be difficult to implement due to the number of private firms currently offering travel services within Cardiff.
Cardiff is a beautiful city, and should these plans go ahead, the transportation system looks set for a radical modernisation. If you're looking for professional or student accommodation in Cardiff, have a look at the properties we have available to rent and make sure you stay tuned to our Facebook, Twitter and Google+ pages for the latest news from across Cardiff.