...By Judah Olanisebee for TDPel Media.
Cardiff Council is considering a new clean-air plan that proposes the introduction of a congestion charge in the city centre.
Other initiatives include clean air zones and workplace parking charges aimed at improving air quality and reducing congestion.
The council plans to consider these proposals at a meeting on Thursday, April 27, but it is subject to law changes and approvals in Wales and is unlikely to be introduced until 2027.
To mitigate this delay, the council plans to implement £1 bus fares and the Cardiff Central to Pierhead Station tram.
However, 75% of the WalesOnline readers who responded to a poll oppose the proposals, and many have voiced their concerns on social media.
A significant concern is the ability of public transport to cope with additional users, with many stating that the current system is not reliable.
Some respondents called for decision-makers to put themselves in the public’s shoes and improve public transport before imposing new road user payments.
Others raised concerns about the potential impact on businesses in the city centre, as well as questioning the council’s previous attempts to improve air quality in the city.
Nonetheless, a few respondents saw some positives in the announcement, citing the examples of other cities in England that have already implemented similar schemes.
Dan De’Ath, Cardiff Council’s Cabinet Member for Transport and Strategic Planning, commented on the proposals, emphasising that the council wants to explore how a form of road user payment could provide funds to completely transform the transport offer in Cardiff, whilst reducing the over-reliance on cars.
The proposals come amid concerns over the inadequate public transport system in Cardiff, as well as the shortfall in the funding required to make the necessary changes.