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West Midlands Passenger Transport Executive
Centro's mission is: 'to increase the use of public transport through partnership, to
improve the economic, environmental and social wellbeing of the West Midlands.'
The West Midlands has a heavily used road and rail system. Traffic congestion alone
costs local businesses over £2.5 billion every year (or £1,000 per resident) and, with
more than 1.5 million vehicles registered in the region, the problem is getting worse.
It is forecast that traffic will increase by some 14.3% by 2012.
Centro knows what needs to be done to improve public transport. This is based on
listening to passengers and would-be passengers, learning from best practice around
the country and throughout the world and from a number of studies.
It is Centro's job to promote and develop public transport in the West Midlands and
to implement the policies of the West Midlands Integrated Transport Authority
Network West Midlands is a vision of the future where bus, rail and Metro connect, with many of the services being on a
The aim is that reliable, punctual and safe public transport will be within easy reach of the passengers at every stage of the
journey, with tickets and information eventually available through a 'One Stop Shop'.
Centro has leased £2 million worth of new rail carriages to ease the burden on many services that are overcrowed at peak
times. The PTE has also increased the frequency of trains from Birmingham Snow Hill to Stourbridge Junction.
Park and Ride sites
Centro provides almost 6,000 car parking spaces at Park and Ride sites. Park and Ride sites at Hall Green, Smethwick Galton
Bridge, Blake Street and Stourbridge Junction have been expanded/upgraded recently to help meet demand. These facilities
take 2.5 million car journeys off the West Midlands roads a year.
Park and Ride Sites at Smethwick Galton Bridge, Langley Green, Dudley Port were the first to receive the 'Park Mark' status
by Government in recognition of their modern facilities and high standards of safety and security.
Subsidised bus services
92% of public transport journeys in the West Midlands are made by bus. Centro pays bus operators to run 220 subsidised
services that are socially necessary for passengers but are unprofitable for bus companies.
Centro is a partner with bus operators and the relevant highway authority in the Bus Showcase initiative, bringing the very
best in bus travel to the people of the West Midlands. People benefit from low floor buses, high quality shelters, real time
information at some locations, traffic priority measures and a high frequency of service.
Centro owns and manages over 5,000 bus shelters in the West Midlands and works in partnership with Adshel to release the
value of advertising on bus shelters. Adshel pays a fixed fee each year for the exclusive sales rights to advertising panels
on 90% of shelters throughout the West Midlands. The money raised could reach more than £60 million over ten years and
will be used for the upkeep of shelters and other improvements to the bus network.
Centro owns and manages 12 bus stations in the West Midlands. Wolverhampton, Wednesbury and Bearwood bus stations
have recently been refurbished to bring better facilities to passengers.
With Government support, Centro funds Taxibus - a convenient door-to-door service that connects communities in the
"Meriden Gap" between Solihull and Coventry. The service has now been extended to operate on Sundays.
Midland Metro Line 1
Centro owns Midland Metro Line 1, the first light rail tram route in the West Midlands. Travel Midland Metro operates the
service under a concession agreement. Line 1 operates between Birmingham and Wolverhampton seven days a week with
a turn-up-and-go eight-minute frequency during the day. Metro consistently achieves 98-99% performance reliability making
it the best performing public transport in the West Midlands.
Centro now plan to extend the Midland Metro across Birmingham City Centre and further into the Black Country.
Travel information centres
Centro provides travel information centres at Birmingham New Street, Coventry and Wolverhampton and work with partners
who provide centres at Merry Hill, Walsall and West Bromwich.
Centro has enhanced at-stop passenger information with electronic bus departure boards at Dudley, Wolverhampton and
Walsall bus stations. 200 real time information displays (where the time shown is the time the bus will actually turn up) have
been introduced in Birmingham together with scheduled timetable information at 50 bus interchanges. As part of NWM,
Centro is working towards every bus shelter/stop having scheduled passenger information within three years and will be
installing 7,500 new bus stop poles with information.
Centro offers a wide range of value-for-money tickets. Customers can receive substantial savings by paying for their season
ticket by direct debit and sales increased by 10.8% during 2004/5.
Centro provides over 400,000 free passes to the over 60s who are resident in the West Midlands and 12,000 passes for
blind and disabled residents. Centro also provide half fare travel for the under 16s.
Centro funds the Ring & Ride service for residents with limited mobility who live in the West Midlands metropolitan area.
Corporate Travel Scheme
In partnership Centro offers companies the opportunity to purchase tickets on behalf of their employees, with the cost
being paid back to the company over 12 months through salary deductions. Employees benefit from a 5% discount on the
price of an annual ticket, an interest-free loan from their employer, free ticket replacement if lost or stolen and the
convenience of having the ticket delivered through their door.
The Company TravelWise Scheme promotes travel plans aimed at cutting down on the number of cars used for getting to
and from work. Advisers give free advice to organisations on making better use of public transport, using 'greener' ways of
travel and can also give discounted and one-day travel passes for bus, rail and Metro use. On a special "in town without my
car" day 1,350 motorists pledged to leave their cars at home in return for a free one-day Centrocard for travel on the day.
Closed circuit tv (CCTV)
46 rail Park and Ride facilities, three Metro Park and Ride sites and one rail/Metro site (The Hawthorns) are monitored by
CCTV. All the cameras are monitored by the Network Safety and Security Centre (NSSC). Additional facilities have been
installed at the NSSC to cover aspects of the bus infrastructure including various key bus stations and additional security
measures at key interchanges along the No 11 Outer Circle Bus Showcase route.
Safer travel Police support unit
In partnership with West Midlands Police, Centro has set up a Safer Travel Police Support Unit. The new unit of Police
officers and Police Community Support Officers will provide a uniformed presence on buses.
q Centro's web site