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.
Tom Stables of National Express West Midlands, left, Chief Inspector Kerry Blakeman of the Safer Travel Partnership, Laura Shoaf of Transport for West Midlands, Andy Street, Linda McCord of Transport Focus, Lynda Waltho of the Confederation of Passenger Transport, Cllr Richard Worrall of the WMCA Transport Delivery Committee, and Chris Simes of Stagecoach Midlands.
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:
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:
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 £4.2m 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.