Under plans to save £7.3m from its coming year’s budget, West Midlands transport authority (Centro) plans to keep free bus travel after 23.00 for older people, the blind and disabled. Centro has also proposed to safeguard free tram and train travel for eligible people and half price bus fares for children. Councillors are to meet on 14 February to decide on how to balance the books while securing a 5% budget reduction for 2014/15. Friday’s meeting will also see councillors asked to approve a £1m reduction in bus station and infrastructure maintenance. The region’s Ring and Ride charity would receive an annual grant of £8.5m, enabling it to maintain a door-to-door transport service between 08.00 and 20.00 Monday to Saturday. A new £1 per trip fare would be introduced and ways of providing a limited Sunday service explored. The recommendations have been shaped and influenced by over 8,000 responses given during a recent public consultation.
Centro is to reduce its own operational and staffing costs by £3m (15%), £1m more than originally planned. It means Centro, through on going staffing restructures and other efficiencies, will have reduced such costs from £27m in 2010 to £16.5m in 2014/15. The recommendations will enable Centro to reduce the amount of money it needs from the region’s seven district councils who are facing similar budget cuts of their own.
Go to http://bit.ly/1eEB2xX to see the budget report due to go before the Integrated Transport Authority meeting.