Welsh Government Active Travel Act: consultation
have responded to the various consultation opportunities; most recently in August this year when it was in force, ie the Bill had become an Act. Three documents, prepared by David Judd, were then submitted: Response 1
, Response 2
and Response 3
On 2 April 2013 we responded to the draft Bill and before that on 9 May 2012 to the White Paper. The Active Travel Bill consultation
and the White Paper consultation
are our respective responses. This link
is to the Act and associated Explanatory Memo
(in the table under "Documents") and here
is the original White Paper.
Our response echoes those of the CTC and Sustrans in that we strongly support the objectives of the Bill, namely to get people out of their cars. We welcomed the various measures proposed to facilitate this but pointed out the need for the document to be more specific in some areas - eg to not always bracket cyclists and walkers - and to clarify sources of funding. We like the principle that funding should be linked to how effective proposed measures would be in facilitating active travel. However we were concerned that the draft Bill was much weaker than the White Paper it was meant to enable and in our second consultation we asked for the Bill to be brought in line with the White Paper.
Bikes on Trains
As early as 2013 Wheelrights
lobbied for more space on the Hitachi trains, which (since late 2017) ply between Paddington and Swansea. Regrettably our recommendations were ignored and although the longer (10 carriage) trains can take 8 bikes, compared with 6 on the 125s they replace, the storage, in pairs in pokey 'wardrobes', is difficult to use and for the most part hard to find for lack of bike signs.
In 2013 and again in 2017 we lobbied Arriva Trains Wales (ATW), but no additional provision was provided. It remains to be seen whether Transport for Wales
, who have taken over the Franchise from ATW, will do better. The 18 page report: Bikes on Trains
, kindly sent to us by Sustrans and sent to ATW, provides a useful reference for good (and bad) practice for bike provision.
Bike Week Events (June 2013)
Two events organised by Wheelrights in the June 2011 Bike Week are of particular note. (The description of the mass ride below applies almost equally to its repeat on 15 June 2013.)
Mass cycle ride
could read this.
Some 25 cyclists assembled at Blackpill on 18 June for a mass ride through Swansea City Centre to sell the idea of the bicycle as an alternative to the car, and to highlight the other benefits of cycling: health, fun, etc. We were pleased that Byron Davies, the local Conservative AM and shadow Transport Minister joined the ride and said a few words of encouragement when we reached Castle Square.
The pelaton is heading east
on Mumbles Road.
Commuter Challenge (2011)
Six different types of "commuter" set off at 8.15am precisely on 22 June from the car park near the Commercial
in Gowerton to travel to Castle Square. Three were on bicycles, one on a kick-bike, one each travelling by car, bus and train, and two on foot - runners. The object was to compare the times taken.
The event was great success. The sun shone. Geoff and Veronica Wood were in Castle Square to check the challengers in and record their times. An Evening Post photographer was there together with Chris Peregrine of that newspaper who interviewed the challengers and produced a comprehensive report
of the event in the 24 June edition.
The picture below shows Chris trying out Rob's kick bike in Castle Square. The times taken by the challengers starting with the first home are as follows.
Claudine Conway (cyclist)
Rob Wachowski (kick bike)
Alison Sandy (cyclist)
Mark Roberts (runner)
David Naylor (cyclist)
Nick Guy (car)
Chris Allton (runner)
Colin Fielder (train)
Mike Lewis (bus)
Some qualifications are needed in comparing these times. Apart from the car and the train the challengers were free to choose their own route. All except David chose direct routes between 5 and 6 miles which because of Swansea's topography were far from flat. David followed NCR 4 down the Clyne Valley and round the coast thereby avoiding the hills but adding 2 miles to the journey. Colin's 40 min. train journey should have perhaps 10 minutes knocked off it to make the comparison fair as its scheduled departure from Gowerton was 21 minutes after the start time. He did however take a bike with him thus saving time at the finish. Mike's bus journey on the other hand was completely fair as the scheduled departure time was only 2 minutes after the start. But unlike the train the bus was late.
What stands out is the clear message which this challenge conveys: self powered transport - in particular the bicycle - is quicker in the rush hour than powered transport. It is of course cheaper and has the other advantages of providing exercise, relieving stress and reducing CO2 emissions.