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Sunday, 25 January 2009

Cambrian Line passengers favour regular London train service – Plaid Cymru.

73 per cent of passengers on the Cambrian Line Railway favour the introduction of a regular train service from Aberystwyth to London, according to data collected by Plaid Cymru.

Arriva Trains Wales is currently holding a public consultation on plans to introduce a direct train service between Aberystwyth and London Marylebone. However, Plaid Cymru’s figures also show that 64 per cent of passengers weren’t aware that a consultation was being held.

Additionally, 55 per cent of passengers believed that there was a need for a regular train service between Aberystwyth and Cardiff.

Plaid Cymru’s Penri James organised the short indicative survey of Cambrian Line train passengers which was held on Tuesday, 20 January 2009. Penri James was assisted by Plaid Cymru councillors Mark Strong (Aberystwyth Town Council) and Rob Phillips (Lampeter Town Council).

A total of 33 respondents were surveyed on the 11:30 train between Aberystwyth to Machynlleth, and on the return journey 12:49.

Commenting on the survey’s results, Plaid Cymru’s Penri James said:

“The results of this survey show that there is considerable demand for a regular train link between Aberystwyth and London. However, I’m disappointed that there doesn’t seem to be much awareness of the current consultation being held by Arriva Trains Wales on this plan.

“I will now be bringing this matter to Arriva’s attention in my response to its consultation as well as highlighting some of the other statistics collected during the survey on other aspects of the service on the Cambrian Line”.

Respondents were also invited to express their views on the cost of travelling on the train, with 61 per cent of the opinion that it was too expensive.

Plaid Cymru’s Lampeter Town Councillor, Rob Phillips, added:

“I’m concerned that many passengers complained that ticket prices were too expensive. In order to successfully encourage people to take the train, it must be seen as a financially-viable alternative to the car.

“Given that ticket prices were subject to above-inflation increases this year, I hope that Arriva will invest this increase in income in further improvements to the service”.

While 88 per cent of passengers supported the introduction of a more frequent rail service on the Cambrian Line, 75 per cent also thought that the present service was good or very good.

Mark Strong, Plaid Cymru’s Aberystwyth Town Councillor, further commented:

“It seems that the recent timetable improvements introduced by Arriva have resulted in an improvement to the current service levels on the Cambrian Line. However, there remains a demand for a more frequent service.

“Once the current engineering work to improve passing loops on the line is complete, I hope that Arriva will be in a position to look at increasing the number of services between Aberystwyth and Shrewsbury”.

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