Getting about has always been something which affects us all.

From speed limits to bus timetables, transport quite often dominates my email inbox.

With this in mind it’s been great to see a number of positive improvements building on the new rail service connecting Ebbw Vale and Newport. I’m delighted that these changes mean that public transport for Blaenau Gwent residents is becoming faster, easier and cheaper.

Since February, the new hourly rail service between Ebbw Vale and Newport has been operating and has made a real difference to all communities along the route; opening up jobs, training and leisure opportunities and delivered on time and in budget!

Last month, new Class 197 trains began to be rolled out on the line, offering passengers a more comfortable and reliable experience. These trains have been built at the new CAF factory outside Newport – the first trains to be made in Wales for decades.

The old Class 150/153 will be phased out over the coming year and eventually all our trains will be the new Metro style trains which will mean every line in south Wales will have new Welsh-made trains.

From March, travellers have also been able to use the contactless tap in, tap out ‘Pay As You Go’ rail payment option to pay for their train tickets, making rail travel more comfortable and easily accessible.

In addition to this, the Welsh Government is also investing £54.4 million in south east Wales to improve road transport links and encourage economic growth.

This is great news for Blaenau Gwent as it means substantial support to help the local council improve.

Local authorities were invited to submit proposals to the Welsh Government for local transport improvements in their areas that will help to deliver the priorities and ambitions of Wales’ Transport Strategy - Llwybr Newydd.

These include: addressing disruptions to the highway network caused by severe weather, improving road safety and improving bus journey times and waiting facilities.

Some projects in Blaenau Gwent benefiting from these funds include; £500,000 for Aberbeeg Road A4046, £350,000 for Intermediate Road and The Dingle and £47,500 for Glyncoed phase 3.

These grants are a substantial investment to support sustainable local economic growth will make it easier for residents to connect with their places of employment and businesses, and to do so more sustainably.