Friday, 18 September 2009

New era dawns for public transport in Wales

A new era for public transport in Wales has started in Swansea with the launch of the innovative ftrMetro.

The big purple vehicles have been piloted on services between Morriston and Singleton Hospital since the summer.

But now all daytime journeys will use the ftrMetro vehicles, just in time for the return of students from the summer recess.

And at the official launch in the city centre John Hague, Cabinet Member for Environment, hailed the launch as a major step forward for public transport in Wales.

He said: "There is nothing like this in public transport anywhere else in Wales. We have new air-conditioned, passenger-friendly 21st century buses running on bus lanes especially designed to help keep them moving on time.

"When you add these buses to the new bus station due to open later next year, Swansea will boast a public transport network that will be the envy of cities across Britain and which we believe others may use as a template for changes of their own."

The improvements to the city's road network and bus stops will help facilitate punctual and swift ftr services. But the work is also supporting other bus and taxi services as well as improving the travelling experience for the thousands of passengers who use public transport in Swansea every day.

Cllr Hague said: "The Metro has been warmly welcomed by the Morriston and Singleton hospitals as well as the university which are all benefiting from the through-service it provides.

"On top of that, it also provides a modern, frequent passenger-friendly public transport link between the railway station and the city centre that will be welcomed by rail passengers who will have a direct connection to the re-vamped bus station when it's complete."

Swansea ftrMetro is a £14million package run in partnership by First Cymru and Swansea Council.

Infrastructure works to support the vehicles were funded by a Welsh Assembly Government Transport Grant, while First spent about £4million purchasing 10 ftr vehicles as well as upgrading its depot in Swansea to accommodate the larger vehicles.

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