Consultation starts on Wolverhampton bus scheme

Driving cleaner air and better facilities for Wolverhampton city centre.

Public consultation has begun on a scheme to deliver cleaner buses and improved facilities in Wolverhampton city centre.

Transport for West Midlands, part of the West Midlands Combined Authority, is launching a city centre Advanced Quality Bus Partnership with bus operators. The scheme will cover eventy stops/stands and shelters within the city centre ring road, including those at the WMCA-owned Wolverhampton bus station, and drive up air quality through bus engine emission standards.

A 13 week public consultation period has now begun, with the scheme being scheduled to come into effect on Sunday 30th September.

Cllr Roger Lawrence, the leader of City of Wolverhampton Council and lead member for transport for the WMCA, said: “This scheme is excellent news for bus passengers in Wolverhampton. It helps tackle the hugely important issue of air quality in the city centre by ensuring a minimum standard on bus engine emissions andalso ensures a smoother operation of bus services within the zone, ensuring a better environment all round for passengers.”

Cllr Steve Evans, Cabinet Member for City Environment at City of Wolverhampton Council said: “The partnership will help us control the quality of vehicles, emissions standards and the management of bus stops and stands to ensure reliable journey times within the city centre. The scheme will help us achieve our on-going mission to improve the city centre environment for residents and pedestrians as well as improving services for commuters.”

AQBPs are already operating in Birmingham and Solihull, and TfWM is preparing a similar scheme for Walsall town centre.

The phasing in of the scheme in Wolverhampton is in line with the West Midlands Bus Alliance commitment of a minimum of all buses having at least Euro V engine emission standards by 1st January 2020. It will see the introduction of slot booking to manage on-street departures at stops, something that already happens at stops in the bus station. This will maximise safety at stops and prevent double parking of buses, providing a better environment for customers.

The scheme will also:

· Reduce congestion and improved passenger and pedestrian safety.

· Formally require City of Wolverhampton Council to enforce bus stands and other Traffic Regulation Orders.

· Require operators to provide real time passenger information.

· Improve driving standards and driver training.

· Ensure operators provide vehicles at particular emission standards

The public consultation period runs until April 23rd and all feedback will be considered as the formal agreement is finalised.

Bus operators wishing to run services within the scheme area after it is introduced on September 30th must sign an agreement with the WMCA and the West Midlands Traffic Commissioner that they will fully comply with the requirements of the AQPS.

Any comments, suggestions or objections to the scheme need to be made in writing to WMCA by April 23th here