Express & Star

My £25 million plan to take buses back under public control – West Midlands mayor

The new elected mayor for the West Midlands has outlined his £25 million plans to take bus services back under public control through a rail-style franchise system.

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New West Midlands mayor Richard Parker

It means the region may get a version of the bright yellow Bee Buses that have been brought in by Manchester mayor Andy Burnham.

Richard Parker, who defeated incumbent mayor Andy Street in this month's West Midlands election, said improving the region's bus service was the greatest difference he could make to the lives of people in the region.

Mr Parker said the money would come from existing budgets, and there would be no additional burden to the taxpayer.

He said once the franchise system was up and running, it would be self-funding, and any surpluses would be reinvested into the network or used to keep fares down.

Mr Parker said the new network, which would see buses rebranded under a new corporate logo, would be up and running within two years.

New West Midlands Mayor Richard Parker

Announcing the plans at Wolverhampton bus station this afternoon, Mr Parker said private bus companies would continue to operate services, but would do so under fixed contracts laid down by the combined authority which would set the fares and timetables.