New £1.9million bus and rail interchange takes shape at Cradley Heath
Toni Tipper, Councillor Roger Horton, and Brenda Lawrence
Work is underway on a new £1.9 million bus and rail interchange at Cradley Heath.
The facility, which will feature cutting edge passenger information and improved waiting facilities, is being paid for through the Better Bus Area Fund.
This is a £10million pot to improve public transport in Brierley Hill, Merry Hill and Cradley Heath.
Once completed in the spring, the interchange’s main building will feature a bright and inviting waiting area for bus and rail passengers with:
- New toilets with provision for parent and child and disabled passengers
- Electronic passenger information for bus and rail
- Enhanced safety and security, with CCTV and Help Points
- Tactile information at each stand
- Talking totems that will give audio passenger information when a special key fob is used
- Cycle storage facilities
The new facility will boast six bus stands; four within the main building featuring automatic doors that only open when the bus arrives, and two on a newly-constructed island in the centre of the site.
Centro’s lead member for rail and Metro, Cllr Roger Horton, said: “The old interchange was not only looking tired but also lacked the quality of facilities that passengers not only deserve but have come to expect.
“That’s why this new interchange will be such great news once completed, providing customers with a more comfortable journey and the latest in passenger information technology.
”Funding for the new interchange under the Better Area Bus Fund is made up of contributions from the Department for Transport, bus operators, Sandwell Council, Dudley Council and Centro, the public transport co-ordinator for the West Midlands.
Dudley Area Manager of National Express West Midlands, Toni Tipper, said: “This great new facility will provide customers with real-time information on their services, improved facilities and the latest safety technology.
“The new Cradley Interchange will make a big difference to tens of thousands of people’s journeys every week and is exactly the kind of improvement that will make more people choose public transport.”
London Midland Head of Snow Hill Services, Brenda Lawrence, said “The new interchange is a welcome addition to Cradley Heath.
“The importance of being able to transfer easily between different types of public transport cannot be underestimated. I am sure this will encourage more use of both bus and train services.”
The Better Bus Area Fund allows transport authorities to bid for up to £5million to encourage bus travel through schemes that improve accessibility to jobs, education, training, leisure and health services, and reduce congestion.
Each award has to be matched by locally sourced funding - the West Midlands was the only region to receive the full amount of £5million, awarded in spring 2012. This has resulted in a total pot of £10 million.
Money from the fund has also been used for a £1.2million bus priority and road improvement scheme in nearby Merry Hill.
This includes a new crossing facility on the A4036 Pedmore Road and some bus priority measures on The Boulevard, the main connecting road between Merry Hill Shopping Centre and Brierley Hill High Street.