Landmark bus agreement renewed to improve services across West Midlands.
Bus passengers across the West Midlands can look forward to even higher standards of service and reliability thanks to a landmark agreement being renewed.
Members of the West Midlands Bus Alliance gathered for the signing at the Coach & Bus UK Show at the National Exhibition Centre near Birmingham. The aim is to build on the success of the first two years of the Alliance and ensure further commitment from its partners towards continuing enhancements to the bus network across the region up to 2020.
Cllr Roger Lawrence, lead member for transport for the West Midlands Combined Authority, said: “Four out of five public transport journeys made here are by bus – that’s an enormous number of people. “The bus network is of fundamental importance to this region which is why continuing investment in the network by ourselves and operators is so important. In doing so we will enable people to go about their lives supporting and contributing to the local economy and creating a vibrant and integrated region. The bus alliance has been a great success and I welcome the further improvements that will be brought under this new agreement.”
The new agreement aims to:
· Improve bus emission standards
· Make bus travel more attractive for young people
· Make bus journeys better value
· Tackle congestion and speed up bus journeys
· Make it easier to buy a ticket
· Make it easier to catch a bus
· Shape the bus network to improve economic growth
· Make it more pleasant to travel by bus
The West Midlands Bus Alliance was the first of its kind in the UK when launched in 2015. It consists of Mayor of the West Midlands Andy Street, Transport for West Midlands, the transport arm of the WMCA, the Safer Travel Partnership, watchdog bodies Transport Focus and the Confederation of Passenger Transport, local highways authorities and local bus operators including National Express West Midlands, Stagecoach Midlands and Central Buses.
Since it launched the Alliance has overseen:
· £7.3 million invested in highways schemes to improve bus journey times.
· 570 brand new and refurbished buses, driving up the standards of bus travel and helping to improve local air quality across the area.
· £3.5 million successful funding bids to improve vehicle emission standards
· More than £1 million of funding committed by the WMCA to assist contracted operators to provide cleaner vehicles on subsidised services.
· £550,000 investment from the owners of Merry Hill shopping centre Intu, to modernise the bus station
National Express West Midlands is spending £10 million on 38 new smart hybrid double deckers for its Platinum service, which boast leather seats, free wi-fi and USB charging points. They will run between Harborne in Birmingham and Birmingham city centre from January 2018.
Stagecoach Midlands is to invest £4.2 million in 25 of its new Gold luxury vehicles for the No48 service between Coventry, Bedworth, Nuneaton, Atherstone and Leicester. They will go into service during early 2018.