Partnership task force to bring major benefits for bus passengers
A ground breaking task force has been set up by transport authority Centro and bus operator National Express West Midlands (NXWM) to drive forward wholesale improvements to bus services across the West Midlands.
As the largest operator in the region, National Express is the first company to become a member of the new Team Transforming Bus Travel although Centro is keen to get many more local operators onboard.
The taskforce has been launched to implement Centro’s recently published blueprint Transforming Bus Travel (TBT) which sets out a vision of high quality bus services within the world class public transport system that Centro is striving to deliver.
The TBT blueprint involves:
- The ongoing modernisation of local bus networks so they better reflect today’s shopping, working and leisure patterns
- The introduction of new bus shelters
- More Real Time Information
- Concise timetable and other travel information at stops under the Network West Midlands brand
- The introduction of Smartcard.
Centro Chairman Cllr Gary Clarke said: “We’re delighted that NXWM has signed up to this new way of working together. It will help fulfil the vision laid out in Transforming Bus Travel and bring real benefits for passengers.
“Working in partnership like this with NXWM and eventually many other local operators, is vital if we are to transform the quality of travel in the West Midlands and attract more passengers on to the buses. It will help underpin our efforts to tackle climate change, reduce congestion, sustain economic growth and address social inclusion.”
Ray O’Toole, National Express Chief Executive UK, added: “In any dynamic organisation there is a need to continually challenge the way in which you deliver service. We strongly believe that working in partnership is the key to growing the use of public transport and subsequently reducing congestion and carbon emission in our towns and cities.
“Recent improvements made to the Dudley and Solihull networks are evidence that we can work well together. We want to continue developing public transport and our bus network and we signalled this with our keen support to further Transforming Bus Travel in partnership with Centro.”
Cllr Jon Hunt, lead member for bus and highways at Centro, said: “Our shared aim is to improve the quality of bus services and to encourage greater use of public transport. This agreement will enable the bus network to be further improved and access for all passengers should be maintained.”
Team Transforming Bus Travel will spearhead the implementation of further reviews of local bus networks, building on the success achieved by the recent overhauls carried out by Centro and NXWM in Dudley and Solihull.
The new networks have involved simplifying times, routes and bus numbers so they are more relevant to existing and potential passengers. Latest figures in Dudley, where the network was modernised last April, show a 15 per cent increase in passengers per kilometre and an overall rise in passengers of 4 per cent. The taskforce will also drive forward other quality improvements in order to maximise the potential for bus as an attractive journey option.