The West Midlands Metro network will be extended in Walsall, Birmingham, Dudley, Sandwell and Wolverhampton under a plan to improve transport across the region.
Further investment would see rail stations opened, new rapid bus services launched, lower fares, more zero-emission vehicles, a very light rail line in Coventry and miles of safe cycling routes created to support the region’s economic growth and its #wm2041 net-zero carbon targets.
The West Midlands Combined Authority board has submitted bids to the government’s City Region Sustainable Transport Settlement fund and Bus Service Improvement Plan fund which, topped up with local funds, could secure investment of up to £2billion over the next five years.
The plans include more Metro tram routes, new rapid bus services and lower fares. Also included in the bid is the Very Light Rail scheme in Coventry city centre which is designed to offer the benefits of trams with lower development costs.
The Bus Service Improvement Plan bid includes the development of 110km of new bus priority routes with bus lanes and junction upgrades to improve reliability of services, a simplified lower cost fare system across operators, and the expansion of the new ‘West Midlands On Demand’ bus service.
The combined authority also backed a bid for a £55million investment into a fleet of 200 zero-emission hydrogen buses in collaboration with National Express West Midlands.
The bid also includes a plan for lower and simpler fares with Transport for West Midlands offering uniform pricing and seamless ticketing across operators and types of transport, and enhanced real-time information for passengers showing where a bus is on the network and provision of accurate fastest route information.