The construction of Cardiff’s long-awaited bus interchange has finally been given the go-ahead as part of a redevelopment project worth hundreds of millions of pounds.
The interchange, to be operated by Transport for Wales (TfW), will have bays for 14 buses and coaches on the north side of Cardiff Central railway station, with plans for future developments to the south, with a further four bays within the Cardiff Central station complex.
The new interchange is expected to open in 2022. Plans for a new station for the Welsh capital have been ongoing for most of the decade, with the old station having closed in 2015.
The announcement results from a deal between the Welsh Government, Legal & General and developer Rightacres and is part of the wider redevelopment of the whole Cardiff Central public transport interchange.
It follows the announcement last week of £58m from the UK Government to upgrade the railway station.
The Welsh Government said it will provide a further £15m for fit-out works at the bus interchange, on top of the £15m it paid to acquire the land.
It added that with the £58m for the railway station, £40m already pledged by City Deal partners and £15m from TfW Rail, this amounts to a funding package of around £150m from the public sector and transport providers for the new interchange.
It said that matched by significant funding from the private sector, ‘hundreds of millions of pounds will be invested in creating a multi-modal transport interchange at the core of the [planned] Metro’.
Economy and transport minister Ken Skates said: ‘Bus, Rail and Active Travel are core components of our bold ambitions for the Metro.
'This Welsh Government supported investment in the Cardiff Central bus interchange will be developed alongside, and work seamlessly with, Wales’s busiest railway station to form a fully integrated passenger experience at the heart of our capital city.’
He added: ‘And this is only the first phase of the redevelopment of Cardiff Central. Our partners in the City Deal have set aside £40m for future developments, with our continued partnership with the private sector marrying transport, residential and work spaces and developing a new identity for this crucial entry point to Cardiff.’
The Welsh Government said that at more than 500,000 sq ft the new bus interchange is the largest privately funded development in Wales and will also comprise 318 apartments for rent and 100,000 sq ft of grade A office development.
Local services that do not terminate at Cardiff Central will stop on street stands, which will also be upgraded ‘so that they have the same look and feel as the bus station, for example by including the bus station’s information services, wayfinding and design’.