Congestion on West Midlands roads costing £2 BILLION a year

Congestion costs the West Midlands £2 billion a year and is grinding speed in Britain's busiest cities to less than 10mph, a new report has claimed.

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More delivery vans on the road because of online shopping and even Uber drives have been blamed for exacerbating the problem by the Greener Journeys report.

Centro is set to spend £150 million on buses in the region over the next five years providing cleaner buses, smartcard tickets and road changes to speed up journeys and make buses more reliable but transport chiefs have warned congestion is hitting the bus sector hard.

National journey times are increasing 10 per cent every decade which will cost 5,000 jobs a year, bosses have claimed.

Councillor John McNicholas, chairman of the Integrated Transport Authority's Transport Delivery Committee which oversees Centro, said: "Congestion stifles economic growth, pollutes our air and generally lowers the quality of life for the people of the West Midlands.

"That's why we are working hard to deliver an attractive and fully integrated transport network that makes it easier than ever for people to leave their cars at home and travel in a greener way."

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Claire Haigh, chief executive of Greener Journeys, added: "A fully-loaded double decker bus can take 75 cars off the road.

"Giving buses more priority on the roads and introducing contactless payments would make journeys faster and more reliable, encouraging more people to leave their cars at home and easing traffic to benefit all road users."

Author of the report Professor David Begg, former chairman of the the Government's Commission for Integrated Transport, described congestion as a 'disease'.

He said: "We have to change travel behaviour.

"If we don't try to influence people's travel choices, it will mean that we all have no choice but to sit in ever increasing traffic jams. Traffic congestion is a disease which if left unchecked will destroy the bus sector. If the trend is allowed to continue, then our urban buses will no longer represent a viable mode of transport for the majority of customers."

The report outlines several possible congestion-busting solutions including charging van drivers for making deliveries during peak hours, introducing more road schemes such as bus lanes and pressuring bus companies to provide more up-to-date travel information.

Greener Journeys is a campaign dedicated to encouraging people to make more sustainable travel choices.

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