Bus services to be upgraded on key A34 route
Bus services will be expected to meet a certain standard on a key corridor in the Black Country as part of plans to improve journeys and encourage more people to get the bus post-pandemic.
Transport bosses have drawn up plans which would see all buses travelling along the A34 between Walsall and Birmingham, and then on to Solihull, include key features such as hearing loops, wheelchair spaces, USB charging ports and wi-fi services.
New tram-style Sprint buses will run along the A34 when services launch in 2022.
Further proposals offering discounted travel for under 25s are also in the pipeline, Transport for West Midlands (TfWM) said.
A public consultation on the 'Enhanced Partnership' (EP) plans will run for 10 weeks, until September.
Transport chiefs say the plans aim to create a "more enjoyable, reliable and safer travel experience as well as quicker journeys".
TfWM said consultation responses will be used to inform the final proposal which will then go to the West Midlands Combined Authority's Transport Delivery Committee for approval later in the year.
Bosses want to persuade more people to get the bus in a bid to cut congestion and pollution, a task that has been made more difficult by the coronavirus pandemic.
Committee chair Councillor Kath Hartley said: “If we are to persuade more people to get the bus, which is vital if we are to ease traffic congestion and improve the environment, then we have to provide a modern and efficient service and experience for passengers.
“This Enhanced Partnership sets out how TfWM will work with bus companies to ensure that these services provide an excellent level of comfort and accessibility.”
The EP has been developed with partners, including the seven constituent West Midlands local authorities and bus operators, as well as other key stakeholders, including passenger groups, industry and business.
Proposals to make bus services more accessible for passengers include offering discounted travel for those under 25 and the introduction of hearing loops at every wheelchair space and priority seating.
Latest technologies will also be added to services such as USB charging ports, wi-fi and contactless payment options.
More information on the plans is available at EPConsultation.tfwm.org.uk