PLANS to introduce more transport safety officers and a streamlined fare structure are included in an £88million package of measures designed to transform bus services across the region over the next three years.
Further proposals outlined in the Bus Service Improvement Plan (BSIP) will see greater coordination between Transport for West Midlands (TfWM) and private operators, improvements to the bus network and more targeted fare offers and flexible ticketing to encourage new and returning customers onto buses.
TfWM, which is part of the West Midlands Combined Authority (WMCA), drew up the plan in answer to the Government’s ‘Bus Back Better’ call for proposals to improve bus services following the Covid pandemic.
The plan has now been given the green light from the WMCA Board and will be submitted to the Department for Transport for approval and funding.
This funding is in addition to the £162m capital investment, being delivered through the City Region Sustainable Transport Settlement, to create 50km of new bus priority routes and cross-city services, as well as investment in improvements to smart ticketing, demand-responsive transport and live travel information.
Key features include:
Lower and streamlined fares – with prices frozen to 2018 level until 2025
Enhanced bus network with greater operating hours, increased frequency and greater integration with other transport services
Boost the Safer Travel team with nine extra uniformed transport safety officers to offer greater protection and reassurance to passengers
Create a Bus Passenger Charter to set out clear pledges for customer satisfaction and retention
TfWM, councils and operators already work closely through the West Midlands Bus Alliance and our existing Enhanced Partnership will be extended to support the BSIP delivery.
Andy Street, Mayor of the West Midlands and WMCA chair, said: “Travelling by bus remains a popular choice for residents.
“Pre pandemic, we were the only region outside London where bus passenger numbers were increasing.
“Now we want to see our bus services bounce back from Covid and this plan sets out how we will go about doing just that.”