More than £30 million investment to transform bus services in Birmingham and Dudley has been announced by Government.
The funding package will go towards the creation of new bus lanes, upgrades to junctions and better bus stops to improve journey times and reliability, offering a convenient alternative to the car.
Improvements will be focused on Birmingham city centre and links to south and west Birmingham and Dudley, offering passengers quicker connections as well as links to the expanding Metro, Rail and Sprint networks.
The investment is backed by a grant of more than £24m from the Department for Transport, topped up with funding from West Midlands Bus Alliance partners, which includes Birmingham City Council and Transport for West Midlands (TfWM), part of the West Midlands Combined Authority (WMCA).
Mayor the West Midlands Andy Street, who has had a series of meeting with Government on bus services, said:
“We are already seeing bus use beginning to rise in the West Midlands – bucking the national trend – thanks to measures such as half-price travel for all 16-18-year-olds, convenient contactless ticketing, and live travel information apps.
“Now this new investment from Government will allow us to further improve bus journeys across the region, making them quicker and more reliable and helping to better connect people to work and leisure opportunities throughout the West Midlands.”
Cllr Ian Ward, WMCA portfolio holder for transport and leader of Birmingham City Council said:
“Bus is the most popular form of transport in the region, accounting for more than 260 million journeys a year and we are looking to make it even more attractive and encourage people to leave their cars at home.
“This is also part of our wider investment in public transport including reopening rail stations, expanding the Metro network and introducing Sprint rapid bus services to create a better connected West Midlands. We look forward to working in partnership with our Bus Alliance partners to deliver better bus services to the residents of Birmingham and the wider region”
It is expected that the new links will benefit 73 million passengers a year.
Detailed designs will be developed in consultation with communities, bus operators and local authorities.
These improvements are expected to boost patronage and contribute towards encouraging people out for their cars, easing congestion and improving air quality.