A SINGLE "turn up and go" ticket for travelling around South East Wales - which could see Newport and Cardiff bus companies working together to create integrated time tables and ticket prices - has been described in a government report.
In an update to the £62 million Cardiff Capital Region Metro project - which is set to see better transport links and more train stations between Ebbw Vale, Newport and Cardiff - the report claims the plans could also improve air quality and cut greenhouse gases.
The previously-reported plans involve £3 million being put towards Newport's new Friars Walk bus station and £0.78 million to move the former bus station to Swan Street; £2 million for a new Devon Place footbridge in the city; £0.6 million to improve the Masonic Street pedestrian entrance to the station; £13 million for bus lanes across South East Wales; £0.3 million to design cycle lanes; as well as creating a new railway station at Ebbw Vale and building a new station at Pye Corner in Newport.
"Metro will deliver a network where interchange is straightforward using vehicles that are designed for speed and capacity and where stations provide better passenger facilities and become a focal point for their communities," the report states as being 'the Metro vision', adding that the plans are tied up with improvements to the M4 and the A465 Heads of the Valleys road.
"An obvious early win would be for...integrated smart ticketing to be available across the Cardiff Capital Region and for the timetabling of rail and bus services to be complementary rather than disjointed.
"It is proposed that Welsh Government will work with industry partners...(and) review local bus networks to encourage greater use of the public transport network as a whole."
Local government, the rail and bus industries will all be involved in the discussions, said the report, and Newport is a priority especially at the bus station and building a pedestrian-only bridge over the railway.
Timetables of the future would most likely to be delivered using apps, and Welsh Government will look next year at the possibility of asking for additional powers to change bus and rail services.
Possible options being looked at include redoubling railway track in certain areas and use "bus rapid transit" - popular in Europe and sometimes described as a surface subway - between Cardiff and Newport.
Specific next steps include assessing the case for new railway stations, said the report.
From 2015/16 the Welsh Government "will work with Cardiff and Newport councils to explore the future role of Newport and Cardiff bus companies", the report said.
Transport minister Edwina Hart said Metro is an ambitious long-term project with "some radical ideas".
"The Metro is more than just a transport project, it will be the catalyst for transforming the economic and social prospects of the region and Wales," said the AM.
Roger Lewis, chairman of Cardiff Capital Region Board said the Metro project is "integral" to achieving wider economic and social outcomes for south east Wales.