Express & Star

Free buses for rough sleepers in the Black Country

More free bus tickets will be given to rough sleepers in the Black Country after a pilot scheme proved successful.


The scheme allows homeless people to use the bus for free to get to a hostel bed for the night, to go to a benefits appointment or a job interview, or to get medical help.

Following initial success the initiative, delivered by National Express West Midlands and mayor Andy Street's Homelessness Task Force, has been extended.

When the scheme was launched as a pilot last April, 1,400 tickets were given to frontline agencies who work with West Midlands local authorities to tackle homelessness.

National Express West Midlands has now donated a further 1,000 tickets and will continue the scheme permanently to support rough sleepers.

Mr Street said: “Whether rough sleepers need medical help or to get to an appointment for emergency housing, hostel accommodation or a job interview, travel is likely to be involved. I believe people should not have to face these extra costs when they are at their most vulnerable.

“We’re very grateful to National Express West Midlands for donating the free bus passes, which are proving a huge success. They are invaluable to the people who need them the most and will help us continue to tackle rough sleeping in the West Midlands.”

David Bradford, managing director of National Express West Midlands, said: “We’ve had really positive feedback on the free travel pass scheme and we’re pleased that we’ve been able to extend it.

“One bus ticket can get a rough sleeper to a place where they can get help – that could make all the difference in a crisis situation.”