Rail commuters ‘jammed like sardines’ as overcrowding increases

24 January 2017

Overcrowding on trains in Cardiff has increased more than anywhere in the UK outside of London.

The latest Department of Transport figures show that passenger numbers in the Welsh capital have risen by 1.6% in a year – twice as much as Birmingham, the second-highest rise outside London with 0.8%.

The number of train journeys taken in Wales has also risen, with more than 30 million journeys made every year.

Commuters say the increase is leaving them ‘jammed in like sardines’ and causing many to be late for work.

More than thirteen thousand people commute to Cardiff by train every morning.

Niall Jones, 21, is a student from Cardiff. He says the problems with the service have put him off travelling by train.

“I’ve always found that there were severe cases of overcrowding. It just became more of a stressful situation than it was worth, especially for the prices that they charged.”

Arriva Trains Wales admit there are problems but say shortages of rolling stock mean they can’t lease any new coaches.

Lynne Milligan, customer services director at Arriva Trains Wales, said: “The train service is really challenged and we know that. We get customer feedback every day. I’d love to be able to say ‘here’s more trains, give everyone a seat on those services’ but we just don’t have it.”

She added: “We operate about 20% more than is contractual to us so we have really made a commitment to this business.”

The current agreement between Arriva Trains Wales and the Welsh Government comes to an end in 2018, when the franchise will open to new bidders.

Arriva are expected to bid again for the franchise.

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