Transport for West Midlands

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Transport for West Midlands
Transport for West Midlands Logo.svg
West Midlands UK locator map 2010.svg
Location of the West Midlands within the United Kingdom
AbbreviationTfWM
PredecessorWest Midlands Passenger Transport Executive
West Midlands Integrated Transport Authority
Formation17 June 2016
TypePublic body
PurposeTransport authority
Headquarters16 Summer Lane
Birmingham, England
Region served
West Midlands (county)
Managing Director
Laura Shoaf
Parent organization
West Midlands Combined Authority
Websitewww.tfwm.org.uk

Transport for West Midlands (TfWM) is the public body responsible for co-ordinating transport services in the West Midlands metropolitan county in England.[1] It is an executive body of the West Midlands Combined Authority (WMCA), with bus franchising and highway management powers similar to Transport for London.[2][3][4] TfWM's policies and strategy are set by the Transport Delivery Committee of the WMCA.

TfWM's initial[when?] priorities are the expansion of the Metro through East Birmingham, Brierley Hill and Birmingham Airport, improvements to the M5 and M6 motorways, and new cycle routes as part of a metropolitan cycle network. There are also plans to work with central government over the future of the underused M6 Toll.[5]

History

Before 2016, public transport services in the West Midlands were co-ordinated by the West Midlands Passenger Transport Executive, which adopted the brand Centro in 1990. Centro's policies were set by the West Midlands Integrated Transport Authority (WMITA). TfWM absorbed the functions, responsibilities, assets and staff of both of these organisations in June 2016, and the predecessor organisations were dissolved.

Governance

The WMCA's Transport Delivery Committee is a 19-member sub-committee of the Combined Authority Board. It forms part of TfWM's activities, and provides oversight of the operational delivery of transport across the West Midlands and advises the Combined Authority Board, through the Transport Portfolio Holder, on transport policy matters. The members are nominated by their respective local authorities; Birmingham City Council nominating seven members, the six other Metropolitan Boroughs nominating two members each. Each member has a single vote. The Chair and Vice-Chair of the Transport Delivery Committee are appointed by the Combined Authority Board.[6]

Responsibilities

Map showing Rail and Tram routes in the West Midlands County (Hednesford is also part of the Rail map)

The WMCA is the Local Transport Authority and has a statutory responsibility to implement policies and strategies that co-ordinate and promote the use of public transport in the West Midlands. The WMCA's transport responsibilities include:[6]

Strategy

  • Setting and monitoring the authority's transport budget, determining the grants to be made to passenger transport companies, and determining the borrowing limits of the Combined Authority in relation to transport matters.
  • The allocation and prioritisation of central government grants and other forms of funding.
  • Long-term strategy for the West Midlands transport system, contributing to regional economic development through a network of high-volume public transport corridors.
  • Constructing and maintaining public transport infrastructure (bus, Metro stations, for example).
  • Working with public transport operators, the police, and district councils for the promotion of safe, efficient, and economic transport facilities and services.
  • Providing integration between public transport modes, including the provision of interchanges.
  • Promoting and publicising the public transport network and providing travel information.

Rail/Light Rail

  • Developing a rapid transit network, including West Midlands Metro and the Coventry Very Light Rail.
  • Developing the rail network in partnership with Network Rail and train operating companies, and formulating policies regarding a devolved rail franchise from October 2017.
  • Maximising the benefits of HS2 across the West Midlands region.

Bus

  • Considering and approving the creation and development of Bus Quality Contract Schemes
  • Increasing bus travel, and supporting the modernisation of the bus network in the region with the West Midlands Bus Alliance.
  • Subsidising socially necessary but commercially non-viable bus services.
  • Franchising bus services, if deemed necessary to improve passenger services.

Ticketing and fares

  • Operating a concessionary fares scheme and implementing the government's National Concessionary Scheme.
  • Integrated ticketing and developing smartcard ticketing technology within the region.
  • Providing an annual grant to the operator of the door-to-door Ring and Ride service for people who have difficulty using other public transport facilities. (Currently this is operated by Accessible Transport, part of National Express West Midlands.)

Highways

Branding

Network West Midlands was the brand used by TfWM when it assumed responsibility for public transport from Centro in 2016. In 2018, the system was rebranded as "West Midlands Network,"[7] with a diamond motif designed to emulate the success of the Transport for London roundel. The identity uses LL Circular by Lineto as the primary typeface, replacing the Network typeface that was previously used.[8] All public transport infrastructure will carry the identity, with signage and liveries being replaced on a rolling basis.[9]

In 2021, it was announced that the "West Midlands Network" moniker would be dropped, leaving "Transport for West Midlands" as the public-facing brand.[10]

Corporate identities showcased by TfWM when it was first announced in 2018.

Key projects

West Midlands Metro

TfWM's predecessor, Centro, was responsible for the reintroduction of tram services to the West Midlands, with the development of the Midland Metro, now known as West Midlands Metro. Plans for a multi-line light rail system for the West Midlands were first drawn up in the early 1980s. The first (and so far only) line of the Midland Metro was opened in May 1999 between Birmingham and Wolverhampton.[11] The line's first extension into the streets of Birmingham city centre, from its original terminus at Birmingham Snow Hill to Grand Central opened in May 2016.[12] Lines are currently under construction in Dudley and Brierley Hill with 7 miles (11 km) of new track and work on another to serve Birmingham Curzon Street railway station (a High Speed 2 station), Digbeth has begun. Future proposals include extension to North Solihull and Birmingham Airport.[13]

Coventry Very Light Rail

A new tram system in Coventry, Coventry Very Light Rail, is planned to open by 2024, with a network of 4-6 lines open by 2030. The first vehicle left the assembly line in March 2021 and was taken on a showcase in the city before being taken to Dudley for testing.[citation needed]

West Midlands Bus

On 19 August 2018 National Express West Midlands and Diamond launched a joint timetable on services 42 West Bromwich to Tipton/Dudley and 43 West Bromwich to Bilston and 31 Mossley to Walsall 32 Lower Farm to Walsall, with National Express and Diamond buses repainted in red liveries carrying West Midlands Bus route branding.

From 15 March 2020 National Express West Midlands and Diamond launched a joint timetable on services 40 West Bromwich to Wednesbury via Friar Park

In August 2021, Diamond announced that they would cease running joint timetables on partnership services (withdrawing completely from service 32) and no longer serve Dudley on service 42, citing loss of revenue due to Covid-19 travel restrictions.

On 5 December 2021 the partnership was back on for services 31/32; 42/43 and 40.

West Midlands Cycle

As part of the "Starley Network" Scheme across the West Midlands, a new transport mode by Transport for West Midlands was unveiled: West Midlands Cycle. As part of this a "West Midlands Walking and Cycling Commissioner" was appointed, Adam Tranter, whose job is to encourage Cycling and Walking as not just an activity, but a mode of transport. Projects to help this include things such as Birmingham's planned 200km Dutch Cycling Network, Coventry's Starley Network of multiple safe, dutch style cycleways, and a new Cycle Hire Scheme.

In March 2021, Cycle Hire Docking Stations started to appear across the West Midlands, in Coventry, Birmingham, Dudley, Wolverhampton and Sutton Coldfield. Bikes can be hired for as long as you like and the cost of travel is often less than the equivalent bus journey. The scheme has been hugely successful,[according to whom?] and was expanded to areas such as Warwick University and Selly Oak.

High-speed rail

In August 2009, TfWM's predecessor, Centro, backed construction of a new railway in the West Midlands region for use by High Speed 2 trains, which would allow existing lines to have "better and more frequent local services".[14]

Sprint bus network

Sprint is a bus rapid transit scheme under construction between Walsall, Birmingham and Solihull. Further routes are planned across the region.

Ticketing

TfWM is committed to the introduction of an integrated ticketing system. "n" branded tickets are valid across the entire network, on any operator within the TfWM area.

nBus tickets are valid on almost all operators' services in the West Midlands county. Tickets can be purchased for travel within various local travel areas or across the whole of the county, and are valid for periods ranging from one day to a year.[15] Metro travel may be added onto nBus passes.

nTrain passes are valid on all local train services within the Network West Midlands zonal rail map (including Hednesford), or to select out-of-county stations in the Birmingham travel-to-work metropolitan area.

Swift is the multi-modal, multi-operator smart travel card, similar to the Oyster card scheme in London. Rather than being a single card, it is a range of contactless passes and cards that share a common system and brand name. Centro began a phased rollout of the Swift card scheme in 2012, which was still ongoing in 2016 when responsibility for the scheme passed to TfWM. The system is expected to be extended across the local rail network as part of rail devolution in the West Midlands.[16]

See also

References

  1. ^ "West Midlands Combined Authority - Laura Shoaf appointed managing director of Transport for West Midlands". westmidlandscombinedauthority.org.uk. Retrieved 10 June 2016.
  2. ^ "Just the ticket, West Midlands metro mayor to get control of buses". The Chamberlain Files. Retrieved 12 July 2016.
  3. ^ "Devolution register". Local Government Association. Retrieved 20 June 2016.
  4. ^ "WMITA - West Midlands ITA - May 2016". www.wmita.org.uk. Retrieved 27 May 2016.
  5. ^ "West Midlands Combined Authority - £4 billion of transport infrastructure over coming decade". westmidlandscombinedauthority.org.uk. Retrieved 12 June 2016.
  6. ^ a b West Midlands Combined Authority. "Agenda document for the West Midlands Combined Authority Board, 10.06.2016" (PDF). West Midlands Combined Authority. Retrieved 22 June 2016.
  7. ^ "Agenda for Transport Delivery Committee on Monday 9th April" (PDF). West Midlands Combined Authority.
  8. ^ "WM Network Brand Guidelines". WMCA Media Assets. West Midlands Combined Authority. Archived from the original on 24 October 2019. Retrieved 24 October 2019.
  9. ^ Transport, Transport for West Midlands: Transforming Public. "A brand for the West Midlands – TfWM reveals new public transport identity". Transport for West Midlands. Archived from the original on 12 May 2021. Retrieved 30 August 2019.
  10. ^ Transport for West Midlands [@TransportForWM] (8 June 2021). "Say bye to West Midlands Network and hello to Transport for West Midlands. We're merging our transport brands to make things easier & clearer. From Monday, you'll see our name change but we'll still be here giving you info to keep you moving! #JourneysThatMoveUsForward" (Tweet) – via Twitter.
  11. ^ Boynton, John (2001). Main Line to Metro: Train and tram on the Great Western route: Birmingham Snow Hill – Wolverhampton. Kidderminster. Mid England Books. ISBN 978-0-9522248-9-1.
  12. ^ Birmingham City Centre Extension Centro
  13. ^ "Midland Metro Grand Central extension opens". British Trams Online. Retrieved 21 June 2016.
  14. ^ "West Midlands transport bosses welcome High Speed Rail". Centro. 27 August 2009.
  15. ^ "Adult travelcards and bus passes". beta.nationalexpress.com. Retrieved 6 July 2021.
  16. ^ Elkes, Neil (27 March 2015). "Just the ticket! Birmingham commuters to get Oyster-style travel card". BirminghamLive. Retrieved 6 July 2021.

External links