The construction of Cardiff’s new bus station will not take place until after the Olympics, the Echo can reveal.
Major roadworks to complete the city’s network of priority bus lanes will also wait until after the event.
The Millennium Stadium will host eight London 2012 football matches and Cardiff council doesn’t want the city to be a “building site” during the world’s greatest sports spectacle.
The authority’s transport bosses said lessons had been learned after criticism of disruptive roadworks on Castle Street during last year’s Ryder Cup.
New details of the next phase of works to improve the capital’s public transport network will be outlined today when Cardiff Bus unveils its strategy for the next five years.
With demand for public transport forecast to rise 25% over the next decade, Cardiff Bus managing director David Brown said investment was vital to stop traffic “strangling” the city.
“The city is now at full capacity in terms of traffic and as it continues to grow the priority has to be towards bus and other modes of public transport; otherwise we will come to gridlock,” he said.
Key to a more reliable service will be a new bus station linked to the rail network and the completion of a continuous bus lane around the city centre. Design concepts for the new station are being considered by the council and a masterplan is expected to be revealed in the autumn.
Mr Brown said the priority was now for gaps in the city’s bus lanes – at Custom House Street, Westgate Street and Bute Terrace – to be completed ahead of the creation of the new station.
No schedule has been set for the works. However, neither the makeover of Westgate Street nor construction of the bus station will begin until after the Games in August 2012.
“Doing major roadworks or building projects does not help us gain support for public transport measures,” Mr Brown said.
“We would like to see them done as soon as possible, but with the Olympics next year we realise that might not be the case.
“What we would like to see is an agreed timetable where we can all see where we stand.”
Consultation with residents and businesses along the busy stretches will take place.
It is expected disruption will not be as severe as during last year’s controversial £4m roadworks to create a new bus lane on Castle Street.
Cardiff council’s Lisa Ford said: “Works are not planned to commence until after August 2012 to allow Olympics events to take place at the Millennium Stadium. By 2014, we want to see 50%of people travelling to work by sustainable transport on a daily basis.”
Cardiff Bus fares have been frozen for a third consecutive year.
Mr Brown said no decision had yet been taken on bus fares for next year.
Cardiff Bus’ vision for the next five years includes:
– A state-of-the-art bus station north of Cardiff Central station;
– new bus priority lanes on Westgate Street, Custom House Street and Bute Street;
– new powers for the council to fine motorists caught driving illegally in bus lanes;
– extra bus stops along busy Churchill Way and Westgate Street;
– extending the Baycar route north and south in the autumn to the new Porth Teigr development and Cathays Park to service the BBC drama studios, the Norwegian Church and National Assembly. North of the city centre, it will stop at City Hall, Cardiff University and the Welsh Government offices;
– iff card online top-ups;
– a revamp of 108 buses, as well as the purchase of new vehicles next year.
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