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More than a million rely on cars and vans to get to work

Welsh workers are more reliant than the English when it comes to getting to work in a car or van.

New figures by the RAC Foundation show people are buying and running cars they can't afford in order to get to the office.

In Blaenau Gwent more than 82% of employees depend on a vehicle to get to work, followed by Neath Port Talbot and Torfaen.

The RAC Foundation also says some people are even put off from taking up a job because they just can't afford the commute.

The Welsh Government says it's aiming to create an accessible and affordable transport system that offers a viable alternative to the car.

Megan Boot reports.

Public transport 'better than ever', says union

John Pockett, Director of CPT Cymru, the body representing the bus and coach industry said:

"The bus network, and the frequency of services for commuters to the main centres of employment in Wales are better now than ever.

"The problem is one of changing the culture where people get in their cars and drive, usually alone, to work, as any random check on, say the A470, A55 and M4 would show.

"Measures such as bus priority and effective parking enforcement are essential to encourage people out of their cars and onto public transport, which is a far more sustainable way of travelling.

"If you add the cost of fuel, parking charges and the stress of driving during the rush hour, public transport is, in fact, an attractive option to those main centres of employment."


Welsh workers most reliant on cars: Your views

You've been sharing your views about how Welsh workers are most reliant on a car or van to get to the office - more than anywhere else in Britain.

If you want to get in touch, comment on our Facebook page, find us on Twitter or e-mail us:

  • David Jones on Facebook - "Buses don't run to the Heads of the Valleys towns after 6pm plus no Sunday Service. For most of us, there is no choice but to drive"
  • Gemma Ceirwyn Hughes on Facebook - "You have no choice when you live in a rural location and buses aren't reliable. A car journey that takes 15 minutes or a bus journey that takes 45 minutes and costs a fortune? I know what I would choose - my car"
  • Steve Steaks on Twitter - "Doh, isn't it obvious! No public transport. I am 7 miles from Oswestry but the bus only runs twice a week so no option but the car"

Plaid Cymru: 'This is a compelling case for a metro system'

Opposition party Plaid Cymru respond to the latest RAC figures which show workers in Wales are most reliant on a car or van to get to work. The Welsh Government say they acknowledge there needs to be a better public transport system.

These statistics make a compelling case for a South Wales Metro - a longstanding Plaid Cymru campaign.

A Metro would transform public transport in south Wales, better connecting towns and cities and offering people a more reliable and regular service than trains or buses.

"A Welsh Metro has been costed at between £1bn and £1.5bn over the next 15 years. This is the kind of long-term infrastructure investment needed to boost the Welsh economy by bringing people closer together and making travel quicker and easier throughout the region.

– Jonathan Edwards MP

Welsh Government: 'We need better public transport'

The RAC says workers in Wales are buying and running cars they can't afford as there are no other transport options to get them to 'the office'. The Welsh Government acknowledges that public transport is crucial.

We are aware of the financial pressures facing people in Wales. Even though our budgets have been stretched by the cuts imposed by the UK government, we are aiming to create an accessible and affordable public transport system that offers a viable alternative to the car. This is a key part of our plans to tackle poverty and create jobs.

– A Welsh Government spokesperson


Welsh workers can't do without four wheels for work

A report out by the RAC reveals a record number of people are now reliant on a car or van to go to work. 16.7 million workers in England and Wales get to 'the office' either by driving themselves or catching a lift. Here are a few more facts and figures for Wales:

  • Welsh commuters more dependent on cars for getting to work than rest of UK
  • Blaenau Gwent is the most car-dependent with 82% of workers using a car or van
  • Cardiff is the least car-dependent but even here 62% of those employed use a car or van
  • In Wales 74.2% of workers commute by car or van. The figure for England is 62.7%.
  • The average length of a car journey to work in Wales is 9.5 miles (19 miles for a round trip)

Welsh workers 'can't afford the commute' says RAC

Almost 75% of Workers in Wales rely on a car or van to get to work says the RAC. Credit: PA

A record number of workers in Wales rely on a car or van to get them to work - more than any other area of Britain.

And it's Blaenau Gwent - one of the poorest areas of the country - where there are the fewest bus or train alternatives for getting to work.

The RAC, which published today's figures, says some people are even put off from taking up a job because they just can't afford the commute.

It also says the poorest car-owning households are spending more than a quarter of their disposable income on buying and running a vehicle.

"Transport poverty is a real threat to the economy. There would be uproar if domestic heating was taxed at 60% so why is it acceptable for road fuel to attract such high taxation?", says Professor Stephen Glaister, director of the RAC Foundation.

The RAC is calling on the government to act on what it calls 'transport poverty'.

"Westminster politicians must remember how the nation actually travels to work. People are still driving despite a decade in which the cost of running a car has outstripped wage inflation. The reason for this is that most people have no practical choice." says Prof Glaister.