The West Midlands Bus Alliance, the first of its kind in the UK, brings together bus operators, local councils, and other partners to work together to deliver high levels of passenger satisfaction and drive forward investment in our bus services.
The alliance is committed to improving bus services in the region and continually raising customer satisfaction. Our focus is on making bus travel in the West Midlands cleaner, greener, safer and faster.
Our Transforming Bus Travel programme sets out our priorities to 2020 to invest in new buses and new forms of bus service, such as Sprint, to extend the Swift smart card and other ticket options, and build upon the partnership working and best practice that already exists.
The West Midlands Combined Authority (WMCA) provides an opportunity to advance this partnership to a new level, ensuring that not only do bus companies provide a network that enables excellent connectivity and supports the development of the region’s economy but also that the region's highway authorities recognise their role supporting this by providing a road network that enables fast, punctual bus journeys to operate.
To achieve this a new Alliance Board has been established of representatives from the region's bus operators, the WMCA, local authority highways and transportation departments, Local Enterprise Partnerships, Safer Travel Police and local councillors. It is chaired by Transport Focus.
The Alliance Board are responsible for identifying what the region’s bus services need to be able to deliver and then putting policies and funding in place for this to be achieved.
To help us achieve these priorities we have identified 50 Deliverables which all partners within the alliance are committed to.
Alliance objectives include:
- Tackling congestion and make bus journeys quicker
- Improving bus emissions standards
- Making bus travel more attractive for young people
- Making bus journeys better value
- Making it easier to buy a ticket
- Making it easier to catch the bus
- Shaping the bus network to deliver economic growth
- Making it more pleasant to travel by bus
The Birmingham City Centre Advanced Quality Partnership Scheme (AQPS) was introduced in July 2012. The AQPS is the biggest of its kind in the UK. This covers multi-million pound investment in bus shelters, way-finding and bus lane enforcement in the city centre and requires all bus operators who enter the city centre to improve their quality standards, including exhaust emissions. Through the Bus Alliance we are working to develop similar schemes in other areas of the region. The Solihull scheme was made on 18th August 2017 and will go live in November 2017.
Until 27th June 2017 the AQPS schemes were known as Statutory Quality Partnership Schemes (SQPS) but as part of the new powers we have under the Bus Services Act the name of such schemes have automatically changed to Advanced Quality Partnership Schemes. In terms of Birmingham City Centre there is no material change in the requirements of the scheme other than the name.