Top partnership award for West Mids travel duo

Acclaim for Centro and National Express.

A ground-breaking collaboration delivering wide-ranging benefits for bus passengers in the West Midlands has been recognised with a top transport industry award.

The Partnership Plus agreement between Centro, the region’s transport co-ordinator, and bus operator National Express West Midlands won the Partnership of the Year category at the National Transport Awards in London.

The awards were judged by the great and the good of the transport industry including chair of the Transport Select Committee Louise Ellman MP, Anthony Smith chief executive of Passenger Focus the independent customer watchdog and Stephen Joseph, director of the Campaign for Better Transport.

Cllr John McNicholas, the chairman of Centro, said: “I am delighted that Partnership Plus has been recognised in this way “It is an initiative that is transforming bus travel in the West Midlands and it is deserved recognition of the hard work of the Putting Passengers First committee, Centro staff and their counterparts at National Express West Midlands.”

Peter Coates Managing Director of National Express West Midlands added: “Our partnership with Centro has delivered record-breaking investment, major improvements in customer satisfaction and a 65% decrease in anti-social behaviour. We are proud of this award but it is important to stress that this is not the end of the road for bus improvements in the West Midlands just a sign we are on the right track.”

Partnership Plus was signed in 2013 and will see a string of investments and innovations delivered by 2015 when it comes up for review.

These include:

· The introduction of Sprint rapid transit down Hagley Road in Birmingham in 2016

· 300 new buses across the West Midlands

· Ten new ‘Gold’ corridors with significantly improved vehicles, information and bus priority

· New Real Time Information displays

· More CCTV on buses

· Expanded on-bus cleaning

Cllr McNicholas said: “Centro and NXWM are both dedicated to transforming bus travel so that the passenger reaps the maximum benefit.

“Partnership Plus is a hugely important part of that aim and I look forward to its continued success.”