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‘Try-before-you-buy’ scheme launched to tempt new passengers onto buses

Transport for West Midlands (TfWM) will be offering thousands of people try-before-you-buy bus tickets as part of a £19 million Government-funded scheme to drive up bus passenger numbers and protect services.

The incentive scheme will be offered to employers to invite staff, who currently travel by car to work, to sign up for a Swift travel card or account to get a period of free or discounted bus travel.

It is hoped that this latest scheme will encourage many more people to switch to bus travel long-term and help keep more bus services on the road – and fewer private cars – reducing traffic congestion and pollution across the West Midlands.

Further to employer schemes there will be additional groups who will be targeted to offer access to public transport such as care leavers and apprentices. Employers and organisations can apply to take part through the TfWM website.

TfWM, which is part of the West Midlands Combined Authority (WMCA), will use part of the £88 million Bus Service Improvement Plan funding awarded last year to support the new incentive scheme.

As well as supporting bus services, the funding is designed to encourage more passengers on board and, in reducing car use, cut traffic congestion and contribute towards meeting the target of a net-zero carbon region within two decades.

Andy Street, the Mayor of the West Midlands and WMCA Chair, said: ‘Buses are the backbone of our public transport network providing vital services for hundreds of thousands of people every day.

‘I’m really pleased therefore that patronage on our buses is now above pre-pandemic levels, however we still need to do so much more to get people onto public transport to tackle congestion and the climate emergency. That’s why we’ve launched this new scheme to entice more people onboard our buses, and I would urge anyone offered the chance – both lapsed and first-time bus customers – to take part and give the bus a go.

‘This new scheme is of course just one part of a wide range of improvements we are bringing to our bus network with investment in cleaner zero-emission buses, bus priority measures on the new Sprint routes improving reliability, and some of the cheapest bus fares in the country.’

Cllr Mike Bird, WMCA portfolio holder for transport and leader of Walsall Council, added: ‘From electric buses in Coventry to the tram extension in the Black Country, we are putting unprecedented funding into our public transport to ensure more people have affordable public transport linking them to job and leisure opportunities across our region and beyond.’

 

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