More buses and evening service as Ring and Ride expands to meet growing demand following pandemic



The West Midlands Ring and Ride door-to-door minibus service is now available to use in the evenings following an expansion of the service.

From today evening services have been re-introduced giving the 11,500 registered Ring and Ride customers the opportunity to travel until 11pm six nights a week.

The later hours have been matched with an increase in the numbers of vehicles available throughout the day as the service expands to meet growing demand for people to go out and about following the relaxation of Covid restrictions.

More buses and evening service as Ring and Ride expands to meet growing demand following pandemic

Mayor Andy Street with Ring and Ride driver Paul Matthews

Ring and Ride is available to anybody who cannot, or finds it difficult, to use regular public transport services due to mobility issues or social isolation.

It is operated by National Express Transport Solutions under contract from Transport for West Midlands (TfWM) and can be used for visiting friends and family, a day or evening out, shopping or even going to and from work.

While demand for the service was down during the pandemic some of the buses and drivers were redeployed as a free shuttle service from key transport hubs to support hospital and health service workers.

Tina Boothroyd, chair of support group Access in Dudley, said: "We are delighted and thrilled that Ring and Ride will resume its evening services. This will be hugely beneficial for disabled users and groups attending evening sessions and events. The positive impact on people's health and mental wellbeing will be significant."

Andy Street, the Mayor of the West Midlands, said: “Ring and Ride provides a valuable service for many of our residents who would otherwise be stuck at home, empowering them to enjoy things many of us take for granted such as a trip to the shops or a meal out.

“By giving easy access to more places, Ring and Ride can be critical in tackling social isolation and improving mental health. So, I am therefore thrilled we are able to extend the scheme, bringing on-board more buses and running the service for longer hours.”

The re-introduction of evening service follows the approval of the West Midlands Combined Authority (WMCA) annual budget which included £6.7 million funding towards the accessible transport service.

Cllr Ian Ward, WMCA portfolio holder for transport and leader of Birmingham City Council, said: “Ring and Ride provides a lifeline for many people across the region and as we emerge from the pandemic it's good to see that more people are using this service to get out and about.

“That's why the councils of the WMCA were delighted to support this increase in buses and opening hours. Now, thanks to this continued funding, Ring and Ride users can enjoy an evening out too.”  

Sarah Gager, regional managing director for the Midlands at National Express Transport Solutions, said: "Accessible transport plays a vital role in tackling social isolation and loneliness and we are committed to delivering the safest, most reliable and inclusive transport services for our communities.

"We are delighted to be working with TfWM to reintroduce the evening Ring and Ride services this week. By enhancing the service, we can ensure that everybody is able to access local facilities and activities in their area.”

To register for Ring & Ride visit ringandride.org or call on 0330 053 8141.

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