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Getting around access guide

Preface

By Laura Shoaf, Managing Director of Transport for West Midlands

Welcome to the 26th edition of our Getting Around Access Guide. Once again I am pleased to be able to share with you the progress we have made over the last 12 months.

The Metro extension in Birmingham opened on time in December 2019 with new stops at Town Hall and Centenary Square offering step-free access to Birmingham Museum and Art Gallery, the International Convention Centre and Symphony Hall. By 2021 the Metro will run along Broad Street and the Hagley Road giving people more options travelling through the West side of Birmingham.

The future of our Ring and Ride service, which provides door-to-door transport for more than 12,300 people in the West Midlands has been secured thanks to the signing of a new contract by National Express West Midlands. This vital service operates between 8am and 11pm Monday to Saturday and from 8.30am to 3.30pm on Sundays, supporting around 850,000 trips a year. Taxibus provides a similar service in the rural areas between Coventry and Solihull. Find out more about these services on page 23.

Your feedback has helped us improve our designs for Sprint along the A34 corridor through Perry Barr and resulted in almost 80% of residents parking been retained.

Sprint buses are single deck making them ideal for older people and passengers with mobility issues. The vehicles are designed with a low floor to provide more stable and smoother journeys and provide better accessibility for people who cannot climb stairs. The level boarding at stop means wheelchair users, people with buggies or lots of luggage will be able to board a Sprint bus without a ramp and we look forward to welcoming them onto our network over the next few years.

Last year we received over 140 bids for our £2m Better Streets fund designed to help communities improve their streets for cycling and walking. The successful bids include safer crossings and removing obstacles like parked cars on pavements to make streets much more user-friendly for cyclists, walkers and people with disabilities.

Crime on public transport fell by 5% during 2019 thanks to the fantastic work of our award-winning Safer Travel Partnership. Although our public transport system is incredibly safe, over 90% of people agreed with our proposals last year to introduce new bylaws on bus to tackle low level, nuisance and anti-social behavior. We’re now working with the Department for Transport to introduce the new bylaws which will give enforcement officers added powers to deal with offences such as drunkenness, unacceptable behaviour and smoking to ensure all our passengers have a pleasant experience on every journey they make.

Work is progressing well on the new Wolverhampton rail station which will be completed later this summer and provide a seamless connection between the rail station and city centre via the tram network.

We are also continuing with our commitment to making public transport an attractive option for 16 to 18-year-olds in school, college work, on a training course or an apprenticeship by giving them half price travel; an offer taken up by 58,500 young people in the previous 12 months.

So if you are travelling around the West Midlands I hope these improvements make a difference to your journey. If you haven’t already, please check out our free resources on page 98 designed to make buying tickets, hailing and boarding buses and getting a seat on public transport easier, including our distinctive ‘Please offer me a seat’ badge which recognises not all disabilities are visible.

As always, please get in touch if you have ideas or suggestions that will help us improve our service to you.

Introduction

Welcome to the Getting Around Access Guide, your comprehensive guide to accessible public transport in the West Midlands Network area.

We hope this guide will help make your journey that little bit easier, be it to go to work, shop, visit friends or for leisure. With frequent improvements to the accessibility of public transport in the West Midlands, it is important to remember that some of the information given here may be amended later. For up-to-the-minute information, please contact Traveline on 0871 200 22 33 or visit the website at www.traveline.info.All the Traveline call centres are open 07:00-22:00 seven days a week.

The information in this guide is as up-to-date as possible at the time of production, and while every effort has been made to ensure accuracy, Transport for West Midlands (TfWM) regrets that it cannot accept liability for any inaccuracy, error or omission.

If you would like a copy of this document in a form more suited to your needs, please call 0345 3036 760 or email customerservices@tfwm.org.uk.The Getting Around Access Guide is also available in large print, audio CD, pdf or Braille format.

Legislation

The Equality Act 2010 brings together, harmonises and extends the current equality law.It replaces previous protection in disability discrimination law. The equality duty imposed by the Disability Discrimination Act 2005 (DDA) remains, as it is still unlawful for transport operators to discriminate against disabled people or to fail to make reasonable adjustments to the way they provide services.

The Equality and Human Rights Commission is responsible for enforcing the amended legislation, ensuring transport operators fulfil their duties and disabled people know about their rights. For further information, advice and support on discrimination and human rights issues contact:

Equality and Human Rights Commission Advisory and Support Service (EASS)

If you need expert information, advice and support on discrimination and human rights issues and the applicable law, especially if you need more help than advice agencies and other local organisations can provide, please contact the Equality Advisory and Support Service (EASS).

Telephone: 0808 800 0082
Textphone: 0808 800 0084

Post: FREEPOST EASS Helpline FPN 6521

Website: www.equalityadvisoryservice.com
Email: eass@mailgb.custhelp.com

Monday to Friday, 9am - 7pm,
Saturday, 10am - 2pm
Sundays and bank holidays, closed

Who we are and what we do

The West Midlands Combined Authority (WMCA) is a new governance structure for the region. Members of the WMCA are working collaboratively to improve transport, economic development, regeneration, skills and to deliver public sector reform, in an effort to close the productivity gap and grow the economy.

From a transport perspective, the WMCA’s delivery arm is Transport for West Midlands (TfWM). Transport for West Midlands (TfWM) is responsible for transport infrastructure and public transport services in the West Midlands Metropolitan Area. TfWM’s remit is to develop an integrated network encompassing the region’s road, rail, bus and tram system. TfWM sets the long-term strategy for the West Midlands’ public transport system, contributing to regional economic growth through the development of a public transport system which includes a rapid transit network and Midland Metro. In partnership with bus operators, train operators and Midland Metro, TfWM is delivering major transport schemes and improvements.

TfWM is involved in a number of major public transport activities including:

  • funding socially necessary bus services
  • working in partnership with rail organisations to deliver improvements to the West Midlands local rail network
  • managing concessionary fare schemes to enable free travel for 510,000 senior citizens of eligible age and 30,000 disabled people
  • being owners and promoters of the Midland Metro light rail system
  • providing and maintaining more than 5,200 bus shelters, over 5,300 bus stop poles, operating 12 bus stations and several transport interchanges
  • funding forms of transport for people with mobility difficulties; Promoting innovation in public transport
  • providing over 7,300 free Park and Ride spaces at rail stations and Metro stops
  • co-ordinating and promoting a comprehensive range of West Midlands Network bus/rail/Metro and multi-operator tickets

Have your say on public transport in the West Midlands

There are several ways you can have your say on public transport services in the West Midlands.

Write to the West Midland Combined Authority’s customer services team:

Customer services
West Midlands Combined Authority
16 Summer Lane
Birmingham
B19 3SD

Submit an enquiry
Telephone: 0345 303 6760
Email: customerservices@tfwm.org.uk

Monday to Tuesday and Thursday to Friday, 9am - 5pm,
Wednesday, 9.30am - 5pm
Saturday and Sunday, closed

You can also join one of our feedback groups.

Where to find travel information

The West Midlands Network website can be found at www.tfwm.org.uk and is where you can find a journey planner to help you plan your bus, train and tram journeys, access timetables, ticketing, scheduled and real time information, information on other forms of sustainable travel, concessionary travel and mobility.

This website is accessible from all devices, including desktop, tablet and mobile phone and recognizes your location so that is can locate bus, train or tram stops near you and provide the next arrivals and departures from these stops or stations.

The journey planner can also provide sample fares and tickets for the journey planned to help you choose the best ticket to suit you.

We are currently working on enhancing many areas of the West Midlands Network website, including the design, introducing personalization, so that you can save your favourite journeys and departure boards among other preferences, improved timetables, ticket search functionality and mapping.

With our interactive rail map, you can find your station, arrivals and departures, timetables, sample fares, parking and cycle storage and other facilities (where the information is available).

Our website meets WCAG 2.1AA criteria, you can read our accessibility statement online.

Many buses are fitted with GPS trackers, showing where bus services are on the network at any time and with digital display screens at most stops, this enables more passengers to access Real Time Information in order to make smarter choices about how they travel before starting their journey.

SMS TextTime provides live and scheduled bus timetable updates about your local bus service and tells you when the next buses will arrive at your stop via your mobile phone. Each stop in the West Midlands has a unique eight-letter code which you’ll find at the stop.

Simply text that code to 84268 and a few seconds later a reply will tell you the arrival time of the next bus. (Texts are charged at 25p plus your standard network operator charges. Prices correct at January 2020).

We have on the move mobile apps, available for Android, and iPhone that will allow you to plan your journey, view your next departures and obtain real time (where available) and scheduled times for bus, train and tram.It also locates bus, train or tram stops near you and provides the next departures from these stops.

Social media service updates are issued on Twitter via @WMNetwork and on facebook.com/westmidlandsnetwork. You can also ask questions via these channels to our Customer Service Centre team.

Traveline provides a national telephone enquiry service to obtain all local and national bus, and Midland Metro services. Telephone 0871 200 22 33 (Lines open 07:00-22:00 seven days a week).

Traveline calls cost 12p per minute plus your phone company’s charge. Prices correct at January 2019.

Website: www.traveline.org.uk 

National Rail Enquires on 03457 48 49 50 provides rail information (calls cost 12p per minute plus network extras. Prices correct at January 2019).

Website: www.nationalrail.co.uk 

You can read more about our on-board accessibility online.

Travel Information Centres - TfWM directly operates two Travel Information Centres located at Birmingham New Street rail station and Wolverhampton bus station. Each outlet provides advice and guidance on planning public transport journeys and purchasing tickets to travel. Outlets stock a full range of maps and timetables and have electronic access to up-to-date timetable information and journey planning software.

Tickets can be purchased at Birmingham New Street Travel Information Centre and Wolverhampton bus station. TfWM works in partnership with a number of external organisations to facilitate the provision of travel information at locations not directly operated by TfWM.

[Table from pages 13-14]

Our equality commitment

It is recognised that public transport will continue to be defined and delivered as part of an integrated transport strategy that supports the broader agenda of regeneration, economic development, housing, social inclusion, health and quality of life. TfWM will lead and influence in defining the public transport system and work with others to develop and deliver it.

We value diversity and equality – equality is at the heart of what we do. People should be treated fairly, with respect and in a way that is appropriate to their needs, giving people the opportunity to fulfil their potential. We recognise equality is not about treating everyone the same, but recognising that people’s needs are met in different ways. As an employer and a service provider we take into account and value individual and group differences and implement policies that recognise those differences.

Equality actions include:

  • identifying specific resources for improving equality
  • improving equality through planning and setting targets within departments and service areas
  • having a structured way of involving people in the development of ideas
  • delivering a customer-focused service by recognising the needs of different communities and individuals and actively engaging with the public
  • developing a diverse workforce at all levels of the organisation; developing, reviewing and promoting policies and practices that ensure equality of opportunity and eliminate discrimination in all areas of employment (including recruitment, retention, learning and development, promotion, grievance, disciplinary and retirement)
  • creating a working environment where equality and diversity are valued and act as a key driver for change
  • promoting good relations, understanding and respect between members of staff and raising awareness through a range of media, such as training, induction and one-to-one meetings; ensuring suppliers and contractors embrace and adhere to equality principles
  • ensuring our procurement practices are transparent, objective and non-discriminatory in the selection of our suppliers 
  • conducting an equality impact assessment on our priorities, schemes, policies, functions and strategies to ensure that they have a positive impact on disability, gender, gender reassignment, pregnancy and maternity, race, age, sexual orientation and religion/belief
  • embedding equality and diversity priorities in business operations using our impact assessment process and training and setting performance targets so that we can measure progress against our diversity agenda
  • working effectively with transport operators and providers monitoring progress to inform future planning and audit and inspection.

In delivering a service, equality of opportunity is an essential element of our activities. In employment, equality of opportunity allows the best use of talents, skills, and knowledge, maximising the potential of individuals and improving the quality of service we provide.

The Equality Team

We are committed to equality of opportunity for all in the delivery of services and in employment.

One of the Equality Team’s aims is to support the development of services and policies to meet the needs of the passengers across the region. To do this, we aim to work closely with people in the West Midlands to understand their needs.

The Equality Team would like to develop opportunities in the West Midlands for community engagement – we aim to be as inclusive as possible to ensure all voices are heard. We would like to further improve the way we consult and involve the public in decision-making as well as understanding people’s needs, using that knowledge to inform and shape our policies and services.

If you would like to be involved please contact the Equality Team.

Equality Team - West Midlands Combined Authority

Telephone: 0121 214 7368
Email: equalitiesteam@wmca.org.uk

Ring and ride & community transport

Introduction

Ring and Ride is the main door-to-door accessible transport service operating throughout urban parts of the West Midlands. It has been in operation since 1983. The current operator now has a fleet of 120 fully accessible minibuses operating across the West Midlands.

The service

The service is run by West Midlands Accessible Transport (WMAT), a wholly-owned subsidiary of National Express West Midlands, which receives funding from the WMCA. It operates on Monday to Saturday from 8am to 10.30pm, excluding Christmas Day, Boxing Day, New Year’s Day and Bank Holiday Mondays and from 8.30am to 3.30pm on a Sunday.

Who can use ring and ride?

Anyone who struggles to use conventional public transport can use Ring and Ride - you just need to live in Birmingham, Coventry, Dudley, Sandwell, Solihull, Walsall or Wolverhampton.

The service is ideal for:

  • anyone suffering from a temporary injury
  • young and elderly people who find it difficult to use public transport
  • disabled people who want the convenience of a door-to-door service

[ Map from page 19]

How the service works

Bookings for journeys can be made by telephone up to 24 hours ahead of travel, or online requests made by 8.00am the day before. Registered users of the service can make six advance bookings every year for important appointments and social events.

Ring and Ride operates across the West Midlands. The map below shows the exact operating area.

Ring and Ride also links up with other passenger transport services including local trains, Metro and the cross-boundary buses of other Ring and Ride operating areas. This enables journeys to be completed from door- to-door across the West Midlands. When travelling, users can take a companion with them provided they are booked in advance. Users may also take dependent children with them.

The service uses minibuses with ramps or lifts, so that people who use wheelchairs or find steps very difficult can easily use the bus.

Travelling to hospital appointments

Ring and Ride is unable to take people to hospital appointments because some people are eligible for NHS non-emergency patient transport services (PTS). These services provide free transport to and from hospital for people whose condition means they need additional medical support during their journey, people who find it difficult to walk and parents or guardians of children who are being transported. Contact your doctor or local hospital for details of these services.

Ring and Ride can transport people registered with the service to visit people in hospital and can take companions who are registered and wish to accompany people at their hospital appointments. You can also take a companion to travel with you when you use Ring and Ride, even if they are not registered to use the service. Just let the booking staff know when you book your journey.

Ring and ride fares

Registered user (aged 16+) and essential escort or carer:

  • Monday to Saturday daytime (before 7pm) - £1.30 single
  • Monday to Saturday evening (after 7pm) - £2.40 single
  • All day Sunday - £2.20 single

Registered user (aged 5-15):

  • Monday to Saturday daytime (before 7pm) - 65p single
  • Monday to Saturday evening (after 7pm) - £1.20 single
  • All day Sunday - £1.10 single

Non-registered user:

  • Adults - £2.40
  • Children under 16 - £1.20
  • Children under 5 travel free

Further information about ring and ride

Information is available on audiotape, large print and printed leaflets in English and community languages. The website is at www.ringandride.org 

For further information and to apply to use the service, contact your local call centre. Ring the following telephone numbers (open 09:30am to 2:30pm Monday to Saturday). Between 9:30am and 10:30am lines are dedicated to shopping trips and clubs.

You can also book your trip by e-mail. If you are using this facility, please allow four days prior to the travel date for your request to be processed.

You can also make six advance bookings every year for important appointments and social events.

Coventry

0333 006 6024
coventry@ringandride.org 

Dudley

0333 006 6026
blackcountry@ringandride.org 

East Birmingham and Solihull

0333 006 6004
birmingham@ringandride.org 

North Birmingham

0333 006 6005
birmingham@ringandride.org 

Sandwell

0333 006 6027
blackcountry@ringandride.org 

South Birmingham

0333 006 6023
birmingham@ringandride.org 

Walsall

0333 006 6028
blackcountry@ringandride.org 

Wolverhampton

0333 006 6029
blackcountry@ringandride.org

Community transport

There are community transport operators in all seven districts of the West Midlands. The operators listed below offer minibus/ wheelchair accessible vehicles for hire to community groups in their area, such as scouts or brownies, youth or senior citizens clubs, disabled groups, and sheltered housing developments.

Operators continue to work with TfWM on regeneration projects that are helping to improve access for communities to health, education, leisure and employment.

Because community transport operators are non-profit making, charges for its services are usually much less than those made by typical commercial providers. Most community transport projects have specially adapted minibuses to accommodate people with mobility difficulties including wheelchair users, and it is sometimes possible to provide groups with a volunteer driver. Some community transport providers offer training opportunities and demand responsive transport services in their local area.

Community transport providers

Community Transport Birmingham

Unit 3a Garrison Freight Terminal, Garrison Street, Bordesley, Birmingham B9 4BN
Telephone: 0845 209 0190
Fax: 0121 771 1520
Email: wms.passengerservices@communitytransport.org
Website: www.communitytransport.org 

Shencare Community Transport

The Cabin, Welches Close, Northfield, Birmingham B31 2XT
Telephone: 0121 476 1816
Email: shencarevt@yahoo.co.uk
Website: www.shencare.org.uk

Community Transport Coventry

269 Sovereign Road, Earlsdon, Coventry CV5 6LT
Telephone: 024 7669 1433
Fax: 02476 674482
Email: wms.passengerservices@communitytransport.org
Website: www.communitytransport.org

Community Transport Dudley

Telephone: 0845 209 0191
Fax: 0121 520 8361
Email: bc.passengerservices@communitytransport.org
Website: www.communitytransport.org

Community Transport Sandwell

216 Great Bridge Street, Great Bridge, West Bromwich, West Midlands, B70 0DE
Telephone: 0845 209 0191
Fax: 0121 520 8361
Email: bc.passengerservices@communitytransport.org
Website: www.communitytransport.org

Community Transport Solihull

Telephone: 0121 788 4525
Email: wms.passengerservices@communitytransport.org
Website: www.communitytransport.org

Walsall Community Transport

The Old Dairy, Pelsall Lane, Little Bloxwich, Walsall, West Midlands, WS3 3DH
Telephone: 01922 685555
Email: enquiries@walsallct.org.uk 

Shopper buses operate in the Bloxwich and Barr Beacon areas to local supermarkets three days a week. They are provided primarily for the benefit of older and less mobile individuals and passengers must register and book travel in advance. For further information telephone Walsall Community Transport at the above number.

Community Transport Wolverhampton

Telephone: 0845 209 0191 – Minibus
Email: bc.passengerservices@communitytransport.org
Website: www.communitytransport.org

Buses and coaches

Introduction

There is a comprehensive bus network in the West Midlands Network area.TfWM has policies that promote the use of accessible buses on services, providing a subsidy to operators to run these. Guidelines produced by The Disabled Persons Transport Advisory Committee (DPTAC), Low Floor Bus Specification and Disability Discrimination Act (DDA) and Public Service Vehicle Accessibility Regulations have established standards in vehicle design to help make them more accessible. More than three-quarters of all buses in the West Midlands now meet these standards.All-new single and double deck buses and coaches must be accessible to disabled people and meet Accessibility Regulations. The modern design of buses makes them a lot easier to use, so if you haven’t travelled by bus before, why not try it?

Low floor accessible bus services

In the West Midlands all buses are low floor and wheelchair accessible. They are designed for easy access for disabled people, and for parents with pushchairs and buggies.

The main access features of low floor buses are:

  • bright colour contrasting handrails
  • space for one wheelchair user
  • some space for parents with buggies
  • kneeling suspension to lower the front step, operated by the driver on request
  • ramp to enable access for wheelchair users between the pavement and bus entrance, operated by the driver on request
  • flat wide entrance without steps
  • priority seats for disabled people at the front of the bus

How to use a low floor bus

When at the bus stop and the bus is approaching, in order to stop the bus, give a clear signal to the driver. Blind and partially sighted passengers can use a Bus Hailer to help them catch the correct bus (see page 70 for details). The driver should stop the bus as close to the kerb edge as possible. If you require the driver to lower the step or to put out the access ramp, then you can ask them to do so. All buses have a wide flat entrance, without steps. The floor is non- slip, and there are colour contrasting handrails on the side of each door, with horizontal handrails in the gangway areas. You should swipe your card across the reader, show your travel pass to the driver or pay him the fare. If you are not sure of the fare, tell the driver your destination. Please note that many bus operators insist on the exact fare and do not give change.

If you are a wheelchair user, a dedicated space is normally located on the right-hand side of the bus. To travel in safety you will have to reverse into the space, with the back of your wheelchair against the backrest. The brakes on the wheelchair will have to be applied too, as no additional restraint system is available. There is a horizontal handrail on the right-hand side of the space, with a vertical handrail on the left side.

When the bus approaches your stop, you can press the bell push button located on the handrail which alerts the driver that you want to get off. There will be a sound and a sign will illuminate to indicate that the bus is stopping. The bus will then pull into the kerb, and if requested by you, the driver will put out the access ramp.

There are four priority seats for disabled people on each low floor bus, which are generally located in the first row of seating, with a sign stating they are priority seats. The priority seats have more legroom than a standard seat, and there is space underneath for an assistance dog. There are further vertical handrails along the length of the bus, each with a bell push which you can press to alert the driver that you want to get off at the next stop.

For timetable information contact Traveline 0871 200 22 33. Details of low floor services are also available in West Midlands Network Maps & Guides for your area, available online or from travel centres.

Bus operators

You can see a list of operators online. You can also find out which bus operator runs your bus service.

Audio real time information

West Midlands Network provides Real Time Information displays at bus stations, major interchanges and many bus stops along main routes. For all routes these electronic information displays provide details of the next buses to call at the stop including the service number and destination. For National Express routes, the predicted time when the bus will arrive is given. For routes run by all other operators the scheduled arrival time is given. For people with visual impairment or learning disabilities we provide a small key fob device that can be used to activate an audio voice message which provides the same information.

Audio RTI is available at 1 in every 7 stops on National Express bus services across the seven council areas: Birmingham, Coventry, Dudley, Sandwell, Solihull, Walsall and Wolverhampton. This includes all bus stations.

If you are a West Midlands resident, use bus services and think you may be eligible to receive a key fob please contact:

WMCA Customer Services
16 Summer Lane
Birmingham
B19 3SD

Telephone: 0345 036 760
Email: customerservices@tfwm.org.uk

Coaches

From January 2005, the DDA Public Service Vehicle Accessibility Regulations required all new coaches to be accessible to wheelchair users when used on scheduled services, and by 2020 all coaches in service will be required to be accessible.

National express coach services

National Express operates coach services to hundreds of locations across Britain from the West Midlands.

Where any assistance is required, either at boarding, alighting or interchange points, their staff will always try to help.

National Express operates an Assisted Travel Helpline between 8am and 8pm seven days a week via phone, fax, e-mail or minicom. Their dedicated staff can respond to requests for information and assistance from customers who might need a little help along the way. They can offer advice and guidance on how assistance needs can best be met. Information in large print is available on request, providing adequate notice is given. Assistance dogs trained by and affiliated with Assisted Dogs UK will be carried free of charge on National Express services when accompanying their owners and carrying the correct identification.

[Table about facilities in bus stations, page 32-35]

All National Express coaches are now fully accessible. Boarding the coach via a passenger lift, wheelchair users can travel while seated in their wheelchair provided it can be fully secured within the coach. For this reason, National Express request that customers book at least 36 hours in advance of travel and provide details of the make and model of their wheelchair before their journey, just to check that the wheelchair is compatible.

National Express also allows customers to travel with folding wheelchairs, which can be stored in the luggage hold during the journey. In addition, small mobility scooters and battery powered wheelchairs are also carried, as long as they can be dismantled and re-assembled by the customer or a companion at both ends of the journey. For safety reasons, it is not possible to travel while sitting on a scooter. For the same reason, only wheelchairs and scooters operated by a dry cell or gel-type battery can be carried.

Wherever possible, 36 hours notice is required for all bookings. There are some services that offer a designated wheelchair space as long as the wheelchair meets the requirements. Otherwise, wheelchairs/scooters must be capable of being dismantled into separate parts and stored in the luggage hold. Each part must weigh no more than 20kg.

National Express has a Code of Practice called ‘Serving our Disabled Customers’ which sets out the requirements relating to this policy, as well as other methods where the company is committed to assisting disabled customers or customers with reduced mobility. This is available on request from the Assisted Travel helpline or online at their website.

National Express also offers customers a Disabled Coach Card and a Senior Coach Card. Both cards offer a 33% discount on all coach tickets, all day, every day. To see how you can save a third off coach journeys, you can visit their website or call their Assisted Travel team.

Assisted Travel Helpline: 03717 81 81 81

The Assisted Travel Team
National Express
National Express House
Mill Lane
Digbeth
Birmingham
B5 6DD

E-mail: addl@nationalexpress.com
Website: www.nationalexpress.com

Open every day, 8am - 10pm

Trains

Introduction

There is an extensive local rail network within the West Midlands Network area. West Midlands Trains operates the majority of local train services, with links to long-distance services at mainline stations.

Stations and trains are becoming more accessible with new lift schemes, ramps and other mobility improvements either under construction or planned. Stechford will have a brand new lift scheme opening in 2020, and funding has been approved to make Smethwick Rolfe Street fully accessible. Brand new trains are on order and we expect to see these appearing on our network by the end of the year.

We are continuing to work with our partners at Network Rail and West Midlands Trains to improve station accessibility. New automatic audio announcement systems and electronic information screens have now been installed at all stations in the West Midlands Network area, which provide audible and visual information about the next train to arrive at the station.

This section advises you of some of the facilities that are available at each station, and on the trains. The West Midlands Network Rail Network Map is at the rear of this guide.

Advance booking and assistance

The accessibility of rail stations varies; it is recommended that you should always try to plan your journey so that you use stations best equipped and staffed to meet your needs.If you think you may need assistance at the station or on the train, please let the train operators know you are travelling.They are more than happy to assist disabled people, but normally require at least one working day advance notice to ensure their staff are available when needed.

As from January 2020 West Midlands Trains are providing a reduced 12 hour advance notice period as well as being able to ring between 8am-10pm every day to make your booking.This is for journeys made on West Midlands or London Northwestern Railway services.

If you need extra assistance to help you make your journey, contact National Rail Enquiries 03457 48 49 50 or visit the Customer Reception or the Assisted Travel Lounge at Birmingham New Street Station.

Alternatively for travel assistance for West Midlands Trains local services:

Telephone: 0800 024 8998
Textphone: 0344 811 0134

(Next Generation Text 18001 to 0800 024 8998)

Website: www.westmidlandsrailway.co.uk/travel-information/accessible-travel 

To provide the best possible service, you can assist the station staff by providing the following information:

  • the date you will travel and the time your train will leave
  • the destination station and any stations where you need to change trains
  • exactly what assistance is required
  • how you will travel to and from your departure and arrival stations, for example taxi or private car, and whether someone is meeting you at your destination
  • whether you will be travelling alone or with someone
  • whether you will need a wheelchair at your departure and arrival stations
  • any other relevant information you want to give

Please provide similar details for your return journey at the same time, if possible, especially if you are returning the same day. If you do not give enough notice, the normal level of service cannot be guaranteed although operators will try to help you as much as they can under their ‘turn up and go’ service. Please also note that buses may replace trains due to planned engineering works, especially during weekends and public holidays, so it is important for you to check when you plan your journey. If staff assistance is booked, then West Midlands Trains asks that you arrive at the station 20 minutes prior to the scheduled departure time.

Where stations are not accessible for a particular journey and no suitable alternative station exists, West Midlands Trains will provide a taxi (to suit your accessibility needs) to the nearest accessible station for your journey, at no additional cost. We recommend that you provide as much notice as possible to avoid having to wait for suitable alternative transport.

If you are buying tickets online, please note that you will be able to book travel assistance during this process.

Train facilities

Rail station facilities in the West Midlands Network area

The majority of rail stations in the West Midlands Network area enable access from outside the station to the platform, via level access, ramps, or passenger lift. Stations with booking offices have staff available whenever trains are operating, from first train until last. However, some smaller stations are unstaffed. Help Points are located at all station platforms in the West Midlands Network area. Blue Badge disabled parking spaces are provided at all Park and Ride sites and we have recently carried out improvements to the accessibility of all our Park and Ride sites by installing more dropped kerbs, tactile surfaces, and colour contrasting finishes to step edges and bollards. Many stations are well served by local bus services.

The following is a guide to some of the facilities available at stations within the West Midlands Network area, together with information on how to access the platforms. It shows, for example, how many steps there are on a footbridge, or if a ramp or lift is available. Please note that older ticket machines on some platforms may not be accessible to wheelchair users. For further information, telephone Traveline 0871 200 22 33 and 84268 Text Service.

Station access information is also available on the National Rail website.Go to https://www.nationalrail.co.uk/stations_destinations/ and enter the name of the station.

Information on routes through stations is available on National Rail Enquiries website using the ‘Stations Made Easy’ feature.For each station you can find out what routes are available according to your access requirements, for example, step-free. You can also look at the national station access map covering all UK stations at http://accessmap.nationalrail.co.uk 

Notes

Network Rail manage Birmingham New Street station; Avanti West Coast manages Birmingham International, Coventry and Wolverhampton stations; Chiltern Railways manages Birmingham Moor Street, Solihull and Dorridge stations. West Midlands Trains manages all the other stations in the West Midlands Network area.

[Train station accessibility - pages 43-76]

Tram

Introduction

The tram is known as West Midlands Metro. It is the modern, fully accessible light rail system in the West Midlands. Line One provides a fast link between Birmingham city centre and Wolverhampton city centre, via West Bromwich, Wednesbury and Bilston.

Trams

Every tram has been designed to enable easy access. There is level access between the tram and the platform edge. The main access features of the trams are:

  • bright, colour contrasting, doors and handrails
  • six sets of double doors, three on each side
  • a Stop request button in the accessible bay.When pressed the door next to the bay automatically opens at the stop and stays open longer to allow time for the wheelchair user to disembark
  • priority seats for disabled people and people with mobility difficulties
  • two easily accessible spaces for wheelchair users.When in the space wheelchair users should apply their brakes and should not travel facing sideways
  • ‘next stop’ visual information screens and audio announcements
  • emergency intercom, also located in wheelchair space
  • customer Service Representatives on-board to give information and to sell and check tickets and passes
  • assistance dogs are permitted. However, dogs are generally not allowed on board.

Tram stops

All 28 stops along the route have been designed to be fully accessible, with level, ramped, or lift access to all platforms. Handrails are provided where required. There is no permanent staff presence at stops.

Every tram stop has the following features:

  • waiting shelter or totem on each platform 
  • passenger information and timetables
  • tactile paving along platform edges, stairs and crossing points
  • good lighting
  • seating in shelters
  • emergency help points at end of shelters
  • real time information and audio announcements
  • free Park and Ride facilities at The Hawthorns, Black Lake, Wednesbury Parkway, Bradley Lane and Priestfield stops with Blue Badge disabled parking spaces
  • cycle racks at most stops

The service

The Metro calls at every stop on its route.

The first and last trams to operate between Wolverhampton and Birmingham are: 

Monday to Friday

To Birmingham

05:15 and 23:38

To Wolverhampton

05:10 and 23:30

Saturday

To Birmingham

05:15 and 00:03

To Wolverhampton

05:10 and 00:12

Sunday (10-minute frequency)

To Birmingham

08:00 and 23:00

To Wolverhampton

08:00 and 23:10

There is a frequent service every six to eight minutes between 07:00 and 19:00 Monday to Saturday, every 10 minutes between 08:00 and 19:00 on Sunday, and every 15 minutes at other times.

A range of West Midlands Network ticket options are available for use on the Metro, including free travel for concessionary pass holders after 0930 weekdays and all weekend.

Where National Express West Midlands passes and tickets are sold, these may be used on the Metro if marked ‘Metro Add On’ or ‘Metrocard’.If in doubt, please check validity with the ticket issuer

before purchase.Rail/Bus transfer tickets are also available to allow multi-modal travel within the West Midlands. Cash fares can also be paid, with change available from the Customer Service Representative on the tram. Swift pay as you go is also accepted on tram and so are debit/credit card payments (contactless option also available).

For further information, contact West Midlands Metro customer service on 0345 835 8181 or www.westmidlandsmetro.com 

[Tram route map - page 81]

Taxis and private hire vehicles

Taxis and Private Hire Vehicles (PHV) can be booked in advance and offer door-to-door transport.PHVs are ordinary saloon, estate cars, or specially converted wheelchair accessible vehicles which are licensed by local authorities to carry passengers who book their journey in advance.

Taxis (Hackney Carriages) are either ordinary cars or black cabs, depending on the area and the operator. Please note that Hackney Carriages are the only type of vehicle that can be flagged down in the street or hired from Taxi Ranks without prior booking. Ordinary cars can be difficult to get into, and have limited space to store a wheelchair. Accessible black cabs have more space and are fitted with ramps to allow wheelchair access, bright colour contrasting handrails and other access features.

Accessibility regulations require drivers of Taxis and PHVs to carry Assistance Dogs accompanying disabled people at no extra charge.PHV operators have a duty to accept bookings for journeys that will involve a disabled person travelling with their assistance dog.

If you are unfortunate enough to have cause for complaint about a licence holder, you may choose to take up your complaint with the driver directly or alternatively take note of the driver’s name and badge number, vehicle plate number and/or vehicle registration number and contact the relevant licensing office at the address below.

Licensing offices

There are a number of companies offering an accessible taxi service in the West Midlands, which are licensed by local district councils. For further information on taxi operators in your area, contact your local Licensing Office at the address shown, or contact the operators direct.

For information on taxi and private hire companies that serve local rail stations, visit www.traintaxi.co.uk.

Birmingham

Birmingham City Council, Licensing Section, PO BOX 17013, Birmingham, B6 9ES.

Telephone: 0121 303 8442
Email: licensing@birmingham.gov.uk 

Taxi licence enquiries

Telephone: 0121 303 8442

General licensing enquiries

Telephone: 0121 303 9896

Licensing enforcement enquiries

Telephone: 0121 303 9611
Email: licensing@birmingham.gov.uk 

Coventry

Coventry City Council, Taxi Licensing Office, Whitley Depot, 259 London Road, Coventry, CV3 4AR.

Telephone: 024 7683 2183
Email: taxi.licensing@coventry.gov.uk 

Dudley

The Licensing Team, Unit 1, Hurst Business Park, Narrowboat Way, Brierley Hill, DY5 1UF

Telephone: 01384 815101 or 01384 815377
Email: Licensing.LDS@dudley.gov.uk

Sandwell

Sandwell M.B.C, Highways Direct & Support Services, Waterfall Lane, Cradley Heath, West Midlands B64 6RL.

TTelephone: 0121 569 6655
Email: taxi_licensing@sandwell.gov.uk 

Solihull

Licensing, Central Depot, Mote Lane, Solihull, B91 2LW

Telephone: 0121 704 6830
Email: licensing@solihull.gov.uk 

Walsall

Licensing Unit, Civic Centre, Darwall Street, Walsall, WS1 1TP

Telephone: 01922 653050
Email: licensing@walsall.gov.uk or taxilicensing@walsall.gov.uk

Wolverhampton

Licensing, Education and Enterprise, Wolverhampton City Council, Civic Centre, St.Peter’s Square, Wolverhampton, WV1 1DA

Telephone: 01902 551155
Email: licensing@wolverhampton.gov.uk 

Tickets

Concessions for older people

You can read more about 

  • Have reached the age of entitlement (www.gov.uk/state-pension-age/y/bus_pass)
  • Live permanently at an address liable for the payment of council tax in either Birmingham, Coventry, Dudley, Sandwell, Solihull, Walsall or Wolverhampton Councils.

The English National Concessionary Pass gives older people free travel by bus anywhere in England during ‘off-peak’ times - between 9.30am and 11.00pm Monday to Friday.All day at weekends and on public holidays.

The scheme is administered by the West Midlands Combined Authority for residents of the West Midlands.Applicants can apply online at networkwestmidlands.com

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