Traffic congestion up only 5% in Cardiff due to rail strikes, data shows
Today’s rail strikes may not have caused the traffic congestion that some were predicting in Wales, with roads only 5% busier in Cardiff according to location technology firm TomTom.
AA president Edmund King said that his own breakdown workers had been “busier than normal but not dramatically” and put it down to many having planned ahead for the disruption.
“Given good notice of the strike, many people have planned ahead and either changed their plans or are working from home,” he said.
Congestion levls at 11am in Cardiff were up from 24% to 29%. Other areas monitored included London (from 38% on June 14 to 51% today), Liverpool (from 24% to 30%), Manchester (from 27% to 34%) and Newcastle (from 18% to 20%).
The figures represent the proportion of additional time required for journeys compared with free-flow conditions.
There were also queues on outer London sections of the M1, M4, A4 and A40.
RAC spokesman Simon Williams said: “We’ve seen a 5% increase in the number of breakdowns we have attended today compared to a normal Tuesday in early summer.
“This is no doubt due to the increased volume of cars on the roads brought about by a combination of the rail strikes and the good weather.
“We are expecting the ongoing disruption to lead to higher than usual demand for our services at the roadside this week.”
Around 40,000 members of the Rail, Maritime and Transport (RMT) union at Network Rail and 13 train operators have walked out in a dispute over pay and the threat of redundancies. Strikes are also planned for Thursday and Saturday.
The only Transport for Wales services running in Wales today will be a reduced service between Radyr and Treherbert, Aberdare and Merthyr Tydfil, with replacement bus services between Radyr and Cardiff Central.
Transport for Wales are not in dispute with the Rail, Maritime and Transport (RMT) union but operate on railways run by Network Rail, which is.
GWR services to the south of Wales will run at one an hour, but trains will only operate from Cardiff Central towards the east. The last train will leave for London at 3.54pm. The network will be shut down at 6.30pm.
Much of the rest of Britain will have no passenger trains for the entire day, including most of Scotland, the whole of Cornwall and Dorset, and places such as Chester, Hull, Lincoln and Worcester. Only around 20% of rail services will be running today.
RMT general secretary Mick Lynch said Network Rail had offered a 2% pay rise with the possibility of a further 1% later dependent on efficiency savings.
He told BBC’s Newsnight that Network Rail had “escalated” the dispute during Monday’s talks, saying: “They have issued me a letter saying that there are going to be redundancies starting from July 1.
“So rather than trying to come to an agreement in this dispute, they’ve escalated it by giving us formal notice of redundancy amongst our Network Rail members.”
He warned the dispute could continue for months, adding: “It is clear that the Tory Government, after slashing £4bn of funding from National Rail and Transport for London, has now actively prevented a settlement to this dispute.
“The rail companies have now proposed pay rates that are massively under the relevant rates of inflation, coming on top of the pay freezes of the past few years.
“At the behest of the Government, companies are also seeking to implement thousands of job cuts and have failed to give any guarantee against compulsory redundancies.”
The Department for Transport disputed Mr Lynch’s clams, adding that it has cost taxpayers about £600 per household to keep the railway running during the coronavirus pandemic.
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