Environmental groups and politicians last night claimed expensive and inconvenient buses and trains were forcing people to stick to their cars, according to a report in the South Wales Echo.
Green lobby group Campaign for Better Transport’s Richard George said: “People will not leave their cars behind unless they are given good options. If the bus doesn’t get them into work on time, they will not use it again. Public transport needs to be cheap and available for everyone.”
Latest Assembly Government statistics show a steady increase in the proportion of people using their cars to get to work over the last 10 years from 79.5% in 1999 to 82.6% in 2008.
Meanwhile the proportion of commuters walking, cycling and getting the bus or train fell to 17.3%.
Transport expert Professor Stuart Cole said the car was simply the easy option for the majority of commuters living in South Wales. He said: “At the moment, the car is by far the most convenient form of transport, we just can’t beat it. It’s sitting there waiting for you to get into it outside your house and it will take you to within yards of where you want to go.
“Public transport needs to be made much more convenient and accessible and people need to be told about it before they will know to use it.”
The Welsh Assembly Government last week published its National Transport Plan, which aims to create a more sustainable transport system over the next five years.
Deputy first minister Ieuan Wyn Jones said: “We must work towards a decarbonised transport system, where people are able to choose healthier and more sustainable modes of travel. That is why we are aiming to increase the number of people walking or cycling.
“In our programme for Sustainable Travel Towns we will invest in new, and link existing, walking and cycling routes. Across the wider network we have plans to increase the provision of bicycle facilities on trains, at stations and in towns and cities.”