Tram passengers will see lower fares and new ticket packages with the launch of a new era for Metro services.
From Sunday 24th June, the Midland Metro will become West Midlands Metro as services are taken over by Midland Metro Limited, a subsidiary of the West Midlands Combined Authority (WMCA).
Midland Metro Ltd (MML) is a new operating company that has been set up and will be wholly owned by the WMCA.
Awarding the new operating contract to MML will allow Transport for West Midlands (TfWM), part of the WMCA, to plough future profits back into the network.
MML has already taken the commercial decision to reduce fares on some single and return journeys by an average of around 10%, and to introduce a new Metro day ticket, to be available from day one of the new operation.
Cllr Roger Lawrence, leader of City of Wolverhampton Council and WMCA transport portfolio holder, said: “This is a fantastic start from West Midlands Metro for passengers.
“Already they are seeing cheaper fares and new ticket products thanks to the flexibility and adaptability that delivering services through MML will provide.
“Services being provided by a WMCA-owned company is an exciting new development in the story of the Metro, which is of fundamental importance to transport and the West Midlands economy.
“The tram network is a proven catalyst for economic growth and will be critical to best connect and feed into HS2 so we can reap the maximum economic benefits possible from the high speed rail line.
“The network is expanding massively over the next few years, generating millions of pounds which will be ploughed back into the tram system for the benefit of passengers and taxpayers.”
MML’s director of operations, Carl Williams said: “We’re delighted to be taking up the reins at such an important time.
“The previous operator, National Express, has achieved a great deal in moving the tramway forward but it is now all about taking the Metro to a whole new level over the coming years.
“As we take over we’re making some exciting changes – introducing a new range of day and group tickets and even reducing the cost of some single and return fares.”
Among the fare changes are:
– The introduction of a Metro-only day ticket priced at £5.50 during peak periods and £4 after 9.30am and all day at weekends.
– Reductions in some single and return fares by an average of around 10 per cent – making it easier for customers to have the correct change available.
– The creation of a new Metro group ticket priced at £8.50 during the day and £5 after 6pm and all day at weekends.
Work is also underway developing a Metro mobile phone app to pay for tickets. Travel on the Metro can also be paid for via the Swift card, the West Midland’s travel smartcard.
Any season tickets purchased before Sunday 24th June will remain valid for travel until their expiry date. No changes will be made to season and joint bus and tram tickets.
There will be no changes to the Metro timetable with services continuing to operate up to every six minutes during the day and every 15 minutes in the early mornings, evenings and all day on Sundays.
The West Midlands Metro website will go live on Sunday June 24 and can be found at www.westmidlandsmetro.com
New social media channels are to be launched and customers will be able to follow @wmmetro on Twitter and WMMetro on Facebook.
For those needing to speak to someone, West Midlands Metro’s customer services will be on a new telephone number of 0345 835 8181.