Transport in Cardiff

Transport in Cardiff

Transport in Cardiff, capital and most populous city in Wales involves road, rail, bus, water and air.


The M4 motorway connects Cardiff to other towns and cities in Britain. To the east: Newport, Bristol, Bath, Swindon, Reading and terminating at London. To the west: Bridgend, Swansea, Llanelli and terminating near Camarthen. It is part of the unsigned European route E30. Cardiff can be easily accessed from junctions 29 - 34 inclusive.

The A48(M) motorway connects Junction 29 to the city centre with exits for the Cardiff suburbs of St. Mellons (westbound only), where it becomes the A48, Pontprennau (M4 junction 30 via the A4232), Pentwyn, Rumney, Llanederyn and also for the University Hospital of Wales.

The A4232 (also known as the "Peripheral Distributor Road") connects M4 junction 33 with junction 30 by bypassing through the south of the city. From junction 33, exits are at Culverhouse Cross Interchange, Leckwith Interchange, Ferry Road Interchange (for Barry and Penarth) and Butetown, the road ends at Queen's Gate Roundabout, where the long awaited Eastern Bay Link Road will eventually link with the Southern Way Link Road. It then goes onto the M4 at junction 30 via the A48 (Eastern Avenue) and the Pentwyn Link Road (A4232).

The A470 road is the main North - South Wales route running from Cardiff Bay to Llandudno via exits for the suburbs of Tongwynlais and Taff's Well. The A470 is a major road within the city that provides an important link with the Heads of the Valleys road, Mid and North Wales.

As with many other cities car traffic has caused congestion problems and as such the council has designated bus lanes to improve transport into and out of the city centre. The Welsh Assembly Government is considering the introduction of variable congestion charging in the city centre, but only once there has been significant investment in the city's public transport network. [cite news | first=David | last=Williamson | publisher=Western Mail | date=2005-08-26 | accessdate=2008-01-22 | url= | title=Congestion charge for Cardiff?] .

There are several road and rail bridges that cross the River Taff in Cardiff. These include the Clarence Road Bridge, a comparatively modern bridge which replaced a swing bridge. The original bridge was named after the Duke of Clarence.

Much of Cardiff's central shopping zone is pedestrianised, and further pedestrianisation is planned as part of the current St David's 2 regeneration scheme.


The largest stations in Cardiff (and Wales) are Cardiff Central and Cardiff Queen Street which over 10 million people use each year.cite web | url= | format=XLS | title=Station Usage 2005-2006 | publisher=Office of Rail Regulation | accessdate=2008-02-21] They are both operated by Arriva Trains Wales and controlled by ticket barriers.


Cardiff Central is 10th busiest station in the United Kingdom outside of London with 7 platforms. Cardiff Central is situated on the South Wales Mainline providing national services while Cardiff Queen Street station is the hub of the Valley Lines suburban rail network "(See Below)".

Central Station provides regular shuttle services to London Paddington via Bristol Parkway, with other links to Swansea and West Wales on the South Wales Main Line while other national services connect Cardiff with Bristol Temple Meads, Birmingham, Nottingham, Manchester, Sheffield, York, Newcastle upon Tyne, Southampton and Portsmouth.

Recently there have also been improvements to the north-south Wales rail network and there are now services every 2 hours that connect Wrexham, Llandudno and Holyhead in North Wales to Cardiff in the South.

It is conveniently located right next to Central Bus Station on Wood Street, less than 5 minutes walk from the St. Mary's Street and Queen Street, two main shopping streets in Cardiff city centre.

uburban Rail

Cardiff has an suburban rail metro system operated by Arriva Trains Wales known as "Valley Lines". With Cardiff Central and Queen Street as the hubs, it connects Cardiff's northern, southern and western suburbs to the city centre. There are eight lines that connect Central and Queen Street stations to 20 smaller stations in the city, 26 in the wider urban area (including Taffs Well, Penarth and Dinas Powys) and more than 60 in the South Wales valleys and the Vale of Glamorgan. [cite web | url= | title=Network Map - Valleys & Cardiff local routes | publisher=Arriva Trains Wales | accessdate=2008-05-20] The council is investigating converting the Cardiff City Line, Coryton Line and Butetown Branch Line into light rail lines and extending them in the near future. [cite web | url= | title=Local Transport Plan | publisher=Cardiff County Council | date=2000-08-01 | accessdate-2008-05-20]


Cardiff has a comprehensive bus network, with council-owned Cardiff Bus providing the vast majority of routes in the city and as well as Newport, Penarth, Barry, Cardiff International Airport and Llantwit Major. Veolia Transport Cymru and Stagecoach in South Wales also provide services in the city. Cardiff Bus has introduced "bendy buses" on the popular 17 and 18 routes to Canton, Ely and Caerau and on the Cardiff Bay route. Its hub is Cardiff Central Bus Station.


Stand A at Central Station is used for services to destinations outside Cardiff and the Vale such as TrawsCambria X40 to Aberystwyth, Shuttle 100 to Swansea, Stagecoach services to the Valleys and all National Express Services (e.g. Birmingham, London, Leeds). The Megabus service to London stops outside Cardiff Castle on Castle Street.


Cardiff Bus uses stands B, C, D, E, F and W at Central Station and Wood Street. Other bus stops in the city are located in Westgate Street, St. Mary Street, Castle Street, Kingsway, Greyfriars Road, Dumfries Place and Queen Street Station. Cardiff Bus operates a comprehensive Overground network. [ [ Overground ] ]

Park and ride

Park and ride services are operated at weekends from County Hall, Crown Way and Leckwith to the city centre.


A waterbus runs every hour between the city centre (Taff Mead Embankment) and Cardiff Bay (Mermaid Quay), and between Cardiff Bay and Penarth (Cardiff Bay barrage). Throughout the summer (March to October), boats also depart from Cardiff Bay to take visitors to Flat Holm Island. The Paddle Steamer Waverley and MV Balmoral sail from Britannia Quay (in Roath Basin) to various destinations in the Bristol Channel.



Cardiff, as well as South and West Wales, is served by Cardiff International Airport (CWL). Scheduled, Charter, and low-cost flights are operated on a regular basis to Anglesey, other UK destinations, Europe and North America all year round. It is located at Rhoose, south west of the city and is linked via train (Rhoose Cardiff International Airport railway station) and bus to Cardiff central bus station.


The Cardiff Heliport is the main operating base of police support services, and can handle passenger traffic, especially during major sporting events as the Millennium Stadium.

Future Plans

There are a number of plans in Cardiff to help facilitate traffic into the city centre and reduce chronic congestion that has plagued the city in recent years. The main city centre throughfare, St. Mary's Street, was closed to private vehicles in 2007.


There are plans to complete the outer ring road, by completing the Eastern Bay Link Road which will help transport into Cardiff Bay and reduce congestion in the city centre. However the cost of the project has delayed construction and there is still no date for when it will commence.

By 2009 the M4 motorway will have been expanded to 3-lanes on both sides between junctions 30 and 32 helping to ease chronic congestion on this part of the motorway.

There are also plans to begin Park and Ride services between the New Cardiff City stadium and a new site at Llanrumney by 2009, helping to ease city centre congestion. In fact the council has proposed on a number of occasions a Congestion charge during the morning and afternoon peak to discourage motorists in the city centre.

Rail and Light Rail

There are plans to open more railway stations on existing lines in order to encourage more people to leave their cars at home and help reduce city centre congestion. By 2008 services on the Merthyr Line will double to 2 per hour and a new rail link on the Ebbw Valley Line commenced on 6 February 2008. [ Valley train link ready to open] BBC News - 4 February 2008] cite web|url = |title = Train service resumes 46 years on |accessdate = 2008-02-06 |date = 6 February 2008 |publisher = BBC News Online] Further improved frequencies with Pontypridd and Caerphilly to 7 per hour and 5 per hour respectively are expected.

Also of note is the long-held plan to introduce a light rail line connecting Cardiff Bay. However it is likely to have been shelved due to rising costs. Work on the new transport interchange to replace the Cardiff central bus station began in January 2008.


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