Wednesday, April 22, 2009

Transport 2

Jon Hunt writes:
several significant things that I was involved in getting through the transport authority (Centro) on Monday.

1/ there's an agreement to review the cost of child and young people's concessionary passes. This budget has been under-spending by more than £1 million because of declining numbers of children and young people. There's been quite a lot of pressure to look at London's free pass system and the UK Youth Parliament has organised several events recently. In fact the West Midlands has a very good pass system which allows students up to the age of 18 to get discounted travel. However more work needs to be done to encourage young people to use public transport (rather than family cars) to get to school. And an annual pass does cost several hundred pounds.

2/ Saving bus routes. I steered through an agreement with National Express (former TWM) which will now cover the whole region. The deal seeks to encourage more bus use. We've had some good local deals recently but often they've been undermined by axing of other bus routes. Under this deal, Centro and local councils will get plenty of notice and a chance to save threatened bus routes before they are withdrawn. Ray O'Toole, MD of National Express, joined us to sign the deal on Monday.

3/ Our Lib Dem group continues to keep up the pressure to get local rail lines reopened in Birmingham. This hardly affects Perry Barr very much at all but I need to mention it! The plan is to put two new routes into Moor Street Station, enabling half a dozen new local stations to open. We're disappointed that regional spending plans of Network Rail and the regional local authorities and AWM do not envisage work starting until 2014 - especially when they want to put hundreds of millions into road schemes around the region.

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