'Essential' that West Midlands Metro services return in run-up to Commonwealth Games

A business leader in the Black Country has said it is "essential" the West Midlands Metro system is fixed so the region can secure further investment.

Ninder Johal
Ninder Johal

Ninder Johal said the area needed a world class transport network – including the suspended service – in time for the upcoming Commonwealth Games.

This was necessary to ensure the region maximises the opportunity and secures further inward investment which will see the local economy "flourish", he said.

The major sporting event starts at the end of July and there is hope the trams will be back in action by then. Metro chiefs said it would remain out of action until the end of May, with there being less than a week before the deadline is hit.

Mr Johal, who stepped down from his role on the Black Country LEP last year after nine years, said: "I think if we're going to get inward investment, for our local economy to flourish and productivity to go up, we need the best transport systems available.

"People should be able to move quickly in the West Midlands and it's essential we get this right. If the service is running, the perception is 'this is a place worth investing in, living in and getting educated in'. And for the longer term, it's important we get this right if we're going to maximise the impact of the upcoming Commonwealth Games which will have a ripple effect across the West Midlands and in the Black Country.

"I think as we go into the next decade, and the remainder of this decade, one of the biggest challenges nationally – and especially in the Black Country – is transport infrastructure and mobility, and not just for businesses either – although it is essential for them, because people need to get into work on time, people need to move between meetings, and we need a functioning transport system to do that. And I think the tram is part of that."

Mr Johal is past president of the Black Country Chamber of Commerce and past board member of the Black Country LEP and CEO of production company, Nachural.

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