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Cycling least popular commuting mode in Cardiff, says survey

Congestion cited as biggest problem by city employees

If cycle-commuting in Cardiff is not helped by poor enforcement of parking regulations on cycle lanes, other commuting modes in the city appear just as unsatisfactory according to a survey by Cardiff Business School.

The survey of 648 workers at companies including Admiral, PwC, Legal and General, Tata and Tesco found that employees’ biggest concerns centre around Cardiff’s perceived sub-standard transport systems and infrastructure. Of particular concern are the issues of congestion together with the cost and availability of parking and the paucity of public transport provision.

When asked generally about problems in the Welsh capital, the employees of what are some of the biggest private sector employers in the town cited congestion (54%) lack of cleanliness (29%) and crime (25%) as their main concerns.

Most, 95%, however, claimed they want to continue working in Cardiff in the “immediate” future but that figure falls to 68% who want to do so in the “foreseeable” future.

The survey was carried out on behalf of the Cardiff Business Partnership (CBP), an organisation representing major employers in the city.

Roy J Thomas, a CBP director, told the BBC website that policy makers would need to "consider the findings when shaping a vision for the future".

He said: "The council and assembly government keep telling us what they think Cardiff needs, but we thought it was better to take a bottom-up approach. We asked employees about their experience directly, which nobody ever does."

Prof Rick Delbridge, of Cardiff Business School, added: "It is important that views of those who work in the city are taken seriously. Good companies undertake employee surveys but this was a survey of the city. The survey is the first to look at how people feel about Cardiff as a place to work."

Cardiff council said the issue of traffic congestion and parking had to be tackled, as it must in all major cities.

A spokesperson said: "In March 2009, the Welsh Assembly Government announced Cardiff as Wales' first sustainable travel city and we have developed a number of schemes to help alleviate travel issues.

"The sustainable travel city project is designed to actively promote sustainable travel within the capital, and has provided a city car club scheme, on-street cycle hire as well as supporting and encouraging employers to consider how their staff travel to work by providing grants to provide facilities for supporting walking, cycling and public transport."

The council spokesperson said part of the overall plan involved improving the city's cycle path network.

"These measures are backed up with improved infrastructure in the city, better bus priority measures and park and ride facilities to support travellers who can now opt to leave their cars on the outskirts of the city and take advantage of frequent, efficient and dedicated bus services to the city centre."

The survey revealed that most respondents, 51%, commuted into Cardiff by car or motorbike, followed by train and walking, both 22%, while bus commutes accounted for 16% with a rather meagre 8% of respondents commuting by bike.

That last figure could be viewed a particularly disappointing given that Cardiff is, for the most part, a city devoid of hills.

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