The UK’s first Bus Alliance was launched in the West Midlands recently with the initial delivery board meeting taking place. As part of the Alliance, £150m will be invested in new vehicles, technology and road improvements between now and 2020. It was launched by the West Midlands Integrated Transport Authority (ITA), made up of the seven leaders of the region’s metropolitan councils; Centro, the region’s transport delivery body; National Express West Midlands and other local bus operators.
The Alliance has the following targets: 5% increase in bus patronage, an improvement to bus journey times during rush hour, a reduction in particulate and NOx emissions by 50%, an increased investment in highways infrastructure, improved onboard services including more next stop announcements and Wi-Fi; the ability to pay with your phone and smartwatch; as well as fare increases limited to RPI+1. A joint Delivery Board has been formed to ensure the Alliance delivers on its targets.
National Express Group Chief Executive, Dean Finch, said, ‘This Alliance is a first for the UK. We believe a partnership approach is key in driving excellent customer service standards and passenger growth. This agreement will quickly deliver further benefits to West Midlands bus passengers today. Securing this five year Alliance is a positive and significant development for our UK Bus business.’