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West Midlands Mayor launches bus recovery plan | News

Richard Parker wants to bring the buses under his control.

Author: Hannah RichardsonPublished 7 hours ago

West Midlands Mayor Richard Parker today launched his plan to bring the region’s buses back under his control.

More than £75 million has been spent by the West Midlands Combined Authority over 18 months on grants to keep the region’s buses on the road.

Transport for the West Midlands, which is part of the WMCA, has already started talks with the government and bus operators about additional funding to prevent service cuts or steep fare increases in 2025.

Richard Parker, Mayor of the West Midlands, said: “This is unsustainable, our bus network is broken and that’s why we want to take back control so it serves the people, communities and businesses that rely on regular, affordable and trust. bus services.

“We have directed our officers to report to the WMCA Board as soon as possible to set out a road map for franchising bus services in the region as quickly as possible – and prepare to begin this transition in 2025.

“We will consult with communities and businesses to create a network that enables people to get to work, school, college or hospital – providing access to essential services, an affordable alternative to the car and reducing traffic congestion.

“We are also talking to the Labor leadership who, if successful in the general election, will introduce measures to make the franchising process easier and faster – I will ensure that this benefits the West Midlands.”

Buses are the backbone of the region’s transport network, accounting for five million passenger journeys per week.

Although TfWM covers around half the running costs of bus services, private bus operators make decisions on routes, fares and timetables.

Under the franchised model, TfWM will decide these and award contracts to operators to run services to set specifications.

A successful bus network is a key part of our plans to better connect our people to job, education and leisure opportunities, decarbonise our transport network and grow our regional economy.

Pete Bond, director of integrated network services for TfWM, said: “We now have a bus network that requires a long-term subsidy and therefore the current approach where we tender a range of socially necessary services from case by case. , may no longer be fit for purpose.

“This work requested by the Mayor will show whether there are improved efficiencies and benefits from franchising and whether we can achieve better value for money for the taxpayer, as well as shape the bus network by using funding in a more coordinated and efficient way . It will also highlight whether additional customer benefits can be achieved, such as improved ticketing and fares and passenger information, as well as further integration with tram and rail services.”

Key investments include the creation of the UK’s first All Electric Bus City in Coventry and the development of intercity bus routes with bus lanes and priority measures at key junctions to improve reliability and journey times on the region’s busiest commuter routes.

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