A public consultation has begun on an Advanced Quality Bus Partnership (AQBP) in Wolverhampton.
Transport for West Midlands (TfWM), part of the West Midlands Combined Authority (WMCA), is launching the city centre scheme with bus operators. It will cover 70 stops, stands and shelters within the city centre ring road, including those at the WMCA-owned Wolverhampton bus station.
A 13 week public consultation period has now begun, with the scheme being scheduled to come into effect on Sunday, September 30. Bus operators wishing to run services within the scheme area after it is introduced on September 30 must sign an agreement with the WMCA and the West Midlands Traffic Commissioner that they will fully comply with the requirements of the AQBP.
AQBPs are already operating in Birmingham and Solihull, and TfWM is preparing a similar scheme for Walsall town centre.
The phasing in of the scheme in Wolverhampton is in-line with the West Midlands Bus Alliance commitment of a minimum of all buses having at least Euro 5 engine emission standards by January 1, 2020. It will see the introduction of slot booking to manage on-street departures at stops, something that already happens at stops in the bus station.
The scheme also aims to:
- Reduce congestion and improved passenger and pedestrian safety;
- Formally require City of Wolverhampton Council to enforce bus stands and other Traffic Regulation Orders;
- Require operators to provide real-time passenger information;
- Improve driving standards and driver training; and
- Ensure operators provide vehicles at particular emission standards.
The public consultation period runs until April 23.
Cllr Roger Lawrence, the Leader of City of Wolverhampton Council and Lead Member for Transport for the WMCA, said: “This scheme is excellent news for bus passengers in Wolverhampton.
“It helps tackle the hugely important issue of air quality in the city centre by ensuring a minimum standard on bus engine emissions.
“It also ensures a smoother operation of bus services within the zone, ensuring a better environment all-round for passengers.”
Cllr Steve Evans, Cabinet Member for City Environment at City of Wolverhampton Council, said: “The partnership will help us control the quality of vehicles, emissions standards and the management of bus stops and stands, to ensure reliable journey times within the city centre.
“The scheme will help us achieve our on-going mission to improve the city centre environment for residents and pedestrians, as well as improving services for commuters.”