Conservatives slam Transport for Wales over ‘shocking images’ of Wales v All Blacks overcrowding
The Welsh Conservatives have criticised Transport for Wales after “shocking images” of overcrowding on trains before Wales played New Zealand on Saturday.
A video posted online showed fans on the Milford Haven to Cardiff train, standing shoulder to shoulder in the aisles, with some unmasked.
Welsh Conservative Shadow Minister for Transport, Natasha Asghar MS, said the footage showed that the train operator, which was nationalised by the Welsh Government last year, had packed people in “like sardines”.
“The people of Wales seem to be getting accustomed to travelling on crammed trains, especially on rugby days which we all know always attract large crowds,” Natasha Asghar said.
“Frankly, the lack of trains is just unacceptable. This fixture had been in the calendar for weeks and was not a surprise to anyone, yet Transport for Wales still failed to take action to make sure adequate trains were running.
“I have said on many occasions – inside and outside of the Senedd – that more trains are needed, especially now as life is slowly returning to normal and people are travelling again, but it’s clear bosses at Transport for Wales didn’t have their finger on the pulse over the weekend.
“It is vital that the Welsh Government-owned body steps up to the plate and ensures enough trains and carriages are running to cope with the high numbers of people for the rest of the autumn international matches.”
Crammed like sardines – train from Milford Haven to Cardiff for a super spreader event. @tfwrail the rugby had been planned for 6 weeks. This is shocking – West wales has the highest infection rate in the whole of UK pic.twitter.com/97wGQFHIv6
— Leila Al-Baldawi (@LeilaBaldawi) October 30, 2021
Leila Al-Badawi, who is a documentary film maker, had posted the short clip on Twitter and said the conditions could lead to a “super spreader event”.
Responding to the Conservatives’ comments, a spokesperson for Transport for Wales said that the weekend was the first large-scale event since the pandemic and nearly 75,000 people attended the match in Cardiff, with around 30,000 passengers using their train services.
“We ran as many services as possible, every serviceable carriage was in use, and where we could, we strengthened services on popular routes. Other operators serving Cardiff did the same.
“TfW is delivering a transformational programme of improvements across the Wales and borders rail network that will see more than £800 million invested in new trains and infrastructure upgrades. The new trains will start to arrive on the network from next year, providing improved capacity and more frequent services.
“It’s a large-scale operation to transport tens of thousands of people on an event day and we’d like to thank our customers for their cooperation on the day.”