REPRESENTATIVES of Transport for Wales have been grilled about passenger numbers, new trains and a review of timetables.

The Senedd’s climate change committee took evidence from James Price, chief executive, as part of its annual scrutiny of Transport for Wales (TfW).

Mr Price told MSs a £100 million funding gap has come from a lack of revenue growth due to the pandemic, saying: “What we have lost is three years of expected high growth.

“While we will recover, I don’t imagine that we will recover overnight.”

Labour backbencher Huw Irranca-Davies asked about recovery of passenger numbers in Wales compared with other parts of the UK.

Mr Price said demand numbers bounced back quicker than in England, which has since caught up while Wales has plateaued.

He told the committee that growth seems to have “taken off” in the past six weeks, with a significant jump in revenue.

Highlighting the challenges, he said: “The last few days on core valleys lines we have left people behind at Llandaff…which is reminiscent of pre-Covid times.

“Demand is there which is good because we’re about to be putting on significant extra capacity on the Metro.”

Plaid Cymru's Delyth Jewell asked about the target of 95 per cent of journeys being on new trains by the end of 2024.

Mr Price said he has double checked the plausibility of the target as it felt too ambitious.

However, he maintained that while it is tight, it is an achievable target – with train manufacturer CAF delivering a new train every 11-12 days.

He said: “My preference would be to be boringly reliable and 100 per cent trustworthy rather than in a shiny suit offering people stuff then explaining away why they don’t get some of it.”

Llyr Gruffydd, who chairs the committee, raised concerns about a lack of services and carriages for Wales football matches, accusing TfW of being in a “circle of denial”.

He criticised a special service from Cardiff to Wrexham put on after the Wales-Turkey match on Tuesday, November 21.

The Plaid Cymru MS explained that fans would not have left the stadium until about 9.50pm.

“To expect people to get to Cardiff Central for 10.05pm is frankly ridiculous,” he said.

Mr Price told MSs: “We have not traditionally focused on football but that is something that we will be doing and we are going to meet with the football association.”

Asked about a review of timetables, he stressed that TfW has not set out to take away any significant services but he warned of some minor negative impacts.

“People take life choices around the railway,” he said.

Mr Price told MSs that the Welsh Government is considering the proposed changes and TfW will then consult the public.

Jan Chaudry-Van Der Velde, chief operations officer, added that any change for services outside of the Valley Lines would take effect from December 2024 at the earliest.