£50m traffic-busting scheme is launched

A £50 million project aimed at encouraging people to ditch their vehicles and use public transport in the Black Country was launched today.

Norman Baker, far left on the top table, at today’s launch
Norman Baker, far left on the top table, at today’s launch

Smart Network, Smarter Choices is being introduced to encourage people to change their travel behaviour in favour of buses, trains, cycling and walking. Local Transport Minister Norman Baker was today at Sandwell Council House in Oldbury to launch the three-year project, which will see a package of measures introduced along 10 key routes.

These include the A4123/A459 route between Wolverhampton, Dudley and Quinton and a route linking Walsall and Merry Hill.

Measures will include better walking and cycling routes, car sharing initiatives, road and junction improvements plus advice to families, schools and businesses.

There will be Smartcard technology for cashless travel and improved bus stops with real-time passenger information on digital displays.

The project also includes funding for an expansion of the WorkWise scheme, which provides free travel passes for unemployed people travelling to interviews or starting new jobs.

It is being delivered by transport authority Centro and the region’s seven local authorities.

It follows Centro’s successful £33 million bid to the Government’s Local Sustainable Transport Fund and is supported by a further £15 million from local public and private contributions.

Councillor Judith Rowley, Centro’s lead member for green and accessible transport said: “Getting more people to use public transport, walk or cycle can help cut traffic congestion and free up our roads for essential users like hauliers and bus operators. “This project will not only help support our regional economy but can also bring substantial benefits for the environment as well as people’s health.”

Dudley’s transport boss Councillor Judy Foster said: “One of our main aims is to improve traffic flow and that includes encouraging people to use other transport.”

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Comments for: "£50m traffic-busting scheme is launched"

Ste J

MOre like drop the price of the bus fare

Make the things run on time

Oh and keeps the chavs off the bus with there sodding mobiles playing tinny music out there speaker


Only one major drawback with public transport - you've got to travel with the public !!


Keep putting bus fares up above inflation that is the best way to get people walkin - those with lower income than car drivers.

Put fares up and get more car drivers using their cars, it is cheaper to drive than bus it.

Reduce fares buy new and more buses and get more people on them - simples.

Not enough buses is the problem, that is why fares are put up. Supply and demand init?

Less buses and high demand = fare increases so that buses are not too crowded or customers left at bus stops.

Lets have sepcial low fares for early users e.g. 6.00-7.00 am and 6-7.00 pm -spread the load

Lets not have expe3nsive tickets for 4 weeks or 6 months that lower earners can not affor to budget for. simples

jan sullivan

i went on a bus a couple years ago it was filthy dirty childen shouting and bawling music playing so loud

Keith B

Open up the M6 Toll free of charge and allow it to relieve the traffic on the M6 which was what it was proposed for in the first place.


I cycle to work most days. The other days I use the car.

Why would anyone want to catch a cramped, overpriced bus is beyond me.


Some people HAVE to catch buses because they don't drive!!!


Drop the prices & maybe people with drop their cars! The cost in running a car is only slight more than it is for bus/tram/train season tickets.

Increase punctuality & maybe I will ditch my car, until that happens, I know my car will always be where and when I want it to be.


Living in Cannock, just accross the bus/train border, it would cost me an absolute fortune to travel on the train/bus to work as the passess are so expensive to include my area or do not even include my area at all. They need to make it more financially viable to use public transport.


If you cycle you are likely to have an altercation with a motorist either through your own error or theirs - the cycle lanes are too narrow for safety and suddenly disappear without any warning, the buses are often grubby inside and out and not enough storage space for the nevitable pushchairs and bags, No conductor to keep order and help oldies and young mums and the louts in check, And you can wait for ages and have to stand up; stand up or sit down you are bound to become ensnared with chewing gum, crips ends, sticky spills from fizzy drinks - who would want to do this?

Neil W

I use the bus to take my children to school since my car died. The fares however are excessive and since the increase in January are now costing me more per week than it used to cost to run my car - including petrol, insurance and road tax - and what's more we only use the bus for 1 journey in the morning - we walk home at night!

The simple way to encourage people onto the bus is to REDUCE PRICES! I am lookng to get another car and stop using the bus so can save myself some money.


should have put the money to expanding the tram network

El Bathathson

I travel from Darlaston to West Bromwich each weekday and public transport doesn't work for me except in an emergency. The journey requires at least one change, either bus or Metro and takes four times longs - an hour compared to 15 mins, even on the busy M5/M6.

Its actually easier for me to travel to central Birmingham than a local town using public transport.


Believe me I'd love to be able to get a bus or a train to work. But the fact is I don't live in London and we don't have reliable, regular running trains that run underground and can get you pretty much from and to anywhere in the city. All we have is an overpriced slow metro that only run between 2 places that are already served by trains that run every 10 mins anyway.

So were left with the bus. ones that charge you £1.70 even if your only going to the next stop. Ones that get stuck in the same traffic as everyone else. Then they come up with these stupid ideas of removing a lane and make it a bus lane. Well that still doesn't help because the bus just gets stick in the extra traffic that the lane causes in the first place.

I need 2 buses and 2 trains to get to work and turns a 30 minute journey into 1 hour 50 minute journey and costs nearly £15 a day. I'm almost certain that I'm not on my own here either. No silly little schemes are going to change the fact that I drive my car to work not because I want to but because I have to.

Steve B

Extend the local rail network... through Dudley

Dudley Regeneration Group

Christine Brant

I agree totally Steve - if Beeching hadn't had his way there wouldn't be the furore over the HS2 scheme!!! Oh isn't hindsight a wonderful thing?


They said they were going to improve the congestion on the m6, Its just as bad as it was before!


I wonder how many of those in the picture catch the bus or cycle I would guess at none

Christine Brant

I rely on public transport everyday and only have 1 service that serves where I live and find it very frustrating when the service runs either early or not at all - 15 year old buses are very unreliable and to walk to said A4123 entails a 15 minute walk on desolated streets over railway bridges, past open spaces and churchyards - not nice on dark mornings/evenings when you're a vulnerable female! Reinstate the other service that was more efficient but deemed unnecessary 5 years ago!


Another £50m to be wasted spouting the obvious - wonder how many of the suits in the picture use public transport on a daily basis. Speaking from personal experience I almost lost my job because the transport (predominantly train at the time) from Walsall to Wolverhampton as it was so unpredictable. Lower fares and improve services! Open useful train lines again – eg Walsall to Wolves including opening up stations, Willenhall. Mind you, Smartcard Technology sounds like it will solve everything. I digress - well folks prepare yourselves for the massive improvements you won't see, then you won't be too disappointed!!!

Black Country Lad

What a waste of money and time! Really the so called Council Officials have nothing better to do then come up with a load of rubbish ways to waste money?

They live in a different place to the rest of us... We need cheaper travel like Europe, better service like Europe.

Most recently TWM have changed all bus routes, numbers and now it's a complete mess so no doubt the person that did that went to the same stupid school at the Sandwell council!!!!

PJW Holland

Is this to compensate us for the lack of connectivity to HS2?

David James

They want people to use public transport? How about lowering the bus fares. And how do they expect people in the Black Country to use trains when nearly all of Dudley Borough has NO rail links because nothing has been done to reopen the Stourbridge to Walsall line. Get this line reopened ASAP!

Mick, Whitmore Reans

Early 80's, Sheffield had a scheme where the buses cost you 6 pence to travel on the buses, probably the equivalent of 20 pence now. The buses were full, plenty of buses to cope with the passenger numbers and there were less cars on the roads.

50 pence a journey would encourage more people to use the buses than jump in their cars. The new buses that are on our route are single decker so there are less problems on the bus than there used to be and they're cleaner.

But as others have said I can't see it happening.


whats the point of this there is no attraction to go into wolverhampton walsall is no better if they want make more money charge tourists if any come higher fares like they do in malta

Bob B

This £50 million pund would have much more effect on traffic if they picked 100 working drivers at random and paid them £500,000 each to retire. That would be about 99 more cars off the road at rush hour than this proposal will achieve

English Exile

4 of us travelling from Codsall to Wolverhampton and return £16.....


G Williams

I've had a free bus pass for years but have only used it twice (buses don't go where I want to go). Perhaps if they paid me to use them I might give it a try but I doubt it.

Mike Maynard

Put double yellow lines outside all the schools instead othef traffic calming. Make 'em walk to school!


Public transport is over priced so private companys can pay shareholders, publc transport should be run by the council for the local people


It amazes me that Local Authorities / Governments can find £50 million pounds for schemes that will deliver nothing.

We continue to be told that we must make cuts and we are all in it together, but a nation that can kind of money, cannot be struggling too much.

How can they be so out of touch, when so many comments on here are regarding the prices and reliability that public transport offers.

Public transport does not do it for me and I will do all I can for as long as I can to avoid it.

The car gives you independence, freedom and an aspirational goal for those that can afford it and the amount of tax that car owners / drivers pay should mean that more is invested in road systems not hair brained schemes that you can bet this is.

It really is pityfull reading.


Moved down to London from Dudley about 10 years ago, and for all the complaining people do down here about the tube, public transport is in a completely different league to the West Midlands. Discounting the tube, within walking distance there are about 10 different bus routes all at 10 mins or less frequency and a mainline rail station with trains every 10-15 mins or so. I live in the suburbs not near the centre. I usually commute to work on the tube, which although not perfect, usually gets me the 6 miles door to door in about 35 minutes, about half that time is walking to and from the stations. Using the Oyster card (smart payment card) it currently costs £1.60 each way for the whole journey. Driving to work simply isn't an option as it takes longer and costs £2.80/hr to park on the streets near work before you consider petrol, etc. I don't work in the congestion zone which would add on another £9/day.

I do think Introducing a smart card for the whole West Midlands network would be a start with much lower prices for people using it as opposed to cash. The frequency of bus services needs to be massively increased and many more separate bus lanes on main roads so that they aren't just snarled up in the same traffic as everyone else. As mentioned by David James, rail service in Dudley is non-existant (Dudley the largest town in the UK without a train station?) Getting that brought back won't be cheap! £50M won't even scratch the surface in trying to make public transport more attractive than the car. Something has to be done though as more and more cars aren't sustainable.


I got a bike after selling the car 12 months ago due to insurance hikes. I ride on the pavement because there a few cycle lanes and those that do exist have bloody vans and cars parked over them. The proposals are nothing more than pipe dreams, the money will run out and the project will be run by car drivers and deskjockeys who have no idea what the people who cycle or have to use public transport want or need.

One of the comments made regarding the use of smartcards is absolutely stupid, do the deskjockeys not think it would be better to get the project started before implimenting stupid systems like smart cards.


There are far too many different season tickets, most bus companies issue their own. This leads to problems where more than one company runs a particular route. A person may go out to work and travel on company a's bus, when they return from work they find company b now running the route and the season ticket they have for company a isn't valid.

I know there are multi operator tickets, but many people get confused by the multitude of tickets available, make things easier scrap individual operators tickets and just issue all operator tickets unstead simpler for everybody.


You will never stop people using cars if they have one, doesn`t matter if you lower the bus costs or change cycle lanes and footpaths etc. ITs too awkward to use a bus when shopping especially when you`ve got kids and a pushchair - plus why would you want to pack the buses with people who have other means of transport and then end up with people who haven`t got cars not able to get to their destinations because the buses are full. And you just widen the risk of increase of anti social behaviour buses will become more squashed more people standng up more people getting agitated . Also who doesn`t like being stuck behind a bus imagine being stuck behind one picking up 20 passengers and arguing with the last ten that theres no room on the bus. I f you want to reduce the amount of people using their cars then increase the look at untaxed and uninsured drivers because they`re a large percent responsible for the accidents on roads.(and i know i`m generalising.


You forgot to mention the 'drive by texters' and the school run yobs who wont stop for anything because they have to get to the school gates to drop the kids off because they cant walk....


I commute to Solihull everyday by train from Tipton. Guess what, at least 3 days a week I am late due to the local trains running late as they are not as important as the mainline trains. Until this gets sorted as well as more carriages becoming available, many more people will be late for work too. Catch a wake up, London Midland and provide the service that we pay for.