Wolverhampton Advanced Quality Partnership Scheme
Background to the Scheme
With significant investment currently going into Wolverhampton City Centre with new retail developments, improvements in public realm and the start of the construction of the Midland Metro extension to the rail station, there is a need to use the powers of an Advanced Quality Partnership Scheme (AQPS) in a similar way to other schemes in the West Midlands, to further drive up air quality improvements through setting minimum emission standards, as well as protecting the significant levels of bus investment by the City of Wolverhampton Council, TfWM and local bus operators in recent years.
Establishing the AQPS
On the 22nd January 2018, WMCA gave notice of the proposed AQPS and the start of the formal consultation for a 13 week period. The formal consultation closed on the 23 April 2018. During the consultation, seven responses were received from Select Buses, Travel Express (Let’s Go), National Express West Midlands, Arriva, Confederation of Passenger Transport UK, Campaign for Better Transport and the CMA.
To fully take account of views expressed in response to the formal consultation, further modifications were made to the proposed scheme. The modifications changed the requirements relating to vehicle standards, stops/stands, driver training standards, excluded services and measures provided by the council and TfWM.
To ensure the local bus operators were aware of the changes, and had a further opportunity to provide comments on the scheme following the changes, a second consultation exercise was undertaken with all affected bus operators for a 42 day period. This ran from the 16 May 2018 to 27 June 2018. During this re-consultation with affected bus operators, a further two responses were received from Select Buses and National Express West Midlands.
Following the re-consultation, further modifications have been made to the AQPS. The modifications take account the views expressed in response to the consultation and external circumstances that have changed since the AQPS was originally proposed.
The Wolverhampton City Centre AQPS was made on the 14th August 2018. Affected local bus operators and the Traffic Commissioner were notified by email within 14 days and the scheme published on the TfWM website.
The scheme starts on 25th November 2018.
The bus operators who currently operate within the scheme area are:
- National Express West Midlands (West Midlands Travel Ltd)
- Diamond Bus
- Igo buses
- Banga Buses
- Travel Express (Let’s Go)
- Select Buses
- National Express Coaches Ltd
Monitoring and enforcement of the Scheme
With the decriminalised parking enforcement powers in Wolverhampton the enforcement of stationary parking offences like buses either parked where they should not be or for too long on bus stops and stands will continue to be the responsibility of the parking enforcement officers employed by City of Wolverhampton Council. Moving offences will continue to be the responsibility of West Midlands Police.
TfWM staff will undertake monitoring of service performance and adherence to the scheme requirements. The scheme provides procedures to follow for operators who do not comply with the scheme and ultimately this could result in action being taken by the Traffic Commissioner.