Transport for West Midlands
Location of the West Midlands within the United Kingdom
|Predecessor||West Midlands Passenger Transport Executive
West Midlands Integrated Transport Authority
|Formation||17 June 2016|
|Headquarters||16 Summer Lane
|West Midlands (county) and parts of Staffordshire|
|West Midlands Combined Authority|
Transport for West Midlands (TfWM) is the public body responsible for transport infrastructure and the co-ordination of public transport in the West Midlands metropolitan county in England. It is an executive body of the West Midlands Combined Authority (WMCA), with bus franchising (from May 2017) and highway management powers similar to Transport for London. TfWM is branded as Network West Midlands for the purposes of public transport information.
Upon creation, TfWM absorbed the functions, responsibilities, assets, and staff of two former organisations: the West Midlands Integrated Transport Authority (WMITA) and Centro, which was the operating name of the West Midlands Passenger Transport Executive (WMPTE). The predecessor organisations were dissolved.
TfWM's initial 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.
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.
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:
- 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.
- Developing a rapid transit network, including Midland Metro.
- 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.
- Considering and approving the creation and development of Bus Quality Contract Schemes
- Operating a concessionary fares scheme and implementing the government’s National Concessionary Scheme.
- Integrated ticketing and developing smartcard ticketing technology within the region.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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 as part of the Network West Midlands initiative
- Constructing and maintaining bus stations and public transport infrastructure.
- Management of the West Midlands Key Route Network on behalf of the Metropolitan boroughs and the mayor.
The name Network West Midlands was introduced by TfWM's predecessor, Centro, in 2005 and used for a rebranding of the public transport network, based on the premise that survey information had indicated that more people would use public transport if a strong brand was identifiable. Promotion of the brand has included television advertising, print media, and online media. All bus stops, Metro stops, and train station signage were replaced with Network West Midlands signage. The VAG Rounded typeface in use by Centro was replaced by a new typeface called Network. The Network West Midlands brand was retained by TfWM when it assumed responsibility for public transport from Centro in 2016.
TfWM's predecessor, Centro, was responsible for the reintroduction of tram services to the West Midlands, with the development of the Midland 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. The line's first extension – into the streets of Birmingham city centre, from its original terminus at Birmingham Snow Hill to Birmingham New Street – opened in May 2016. Further extensions of the system are planned.
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".
Bus rapid transit
Plans are in place for a new network of 'Sprint' services.
TfWM is committed to the introduction of an integrated ticketing system. Network West Midlands tickets are valid across the entire network, on any operator involved in the 'n' scheme.
nBus tickets are valid on almost all operators' services in the 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. 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, 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.
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- Birmingham City Centre Extension Centro
- "Midland Metro Grand Central extension opens". British Trams Online. Retrieved 21 June 2016.
- "West Midlands transport bosses welcome High Speed Rail". Centro. 27 August 2009.
- "New sprint bus will be a vital link". Coventry Evening Telegraph. 27 June 2006.