NX Midland Metro tram contracts ends

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Transport for West Midlands (TfWM) is to take over the day-to-day running of the Midland Metro trams from October 2018 when the current concession, held by National Express (NX), finishes.

Existing National Express staff will be transferred over to a new subsidiary company – Midland Metro Ltd – which will be wholly owned by the West Midlands Combined Authority (WMCA).

The combined authority is expected to make a number of extensions to the network which will see it triple in size over the next decade, with passenger numbers forecast to increase from around 6.5 million at present to more than 30 million.

Cllr Roger Lawrence, WMCA Lead for Transport, said: “I’d like to thank all NX staff for operating the Midland Metro for the last 18 years.

“Through their hard work, passenger numbers have grown significantly and they have been nationally recognised for the high level of service they provide.”

Cllr Lawrence said the move and the transfer of staff over from National Express would ensure existing skills and expertise were retained.

Colin Saward, General Manager of NX Midlands Metro, added: “It’s disappointing we won’t get the chance to run the tram service when our current contract is up next year, but we appreciate TfWM’s reasons for taking services back in-house when the network is about to change so much.

Laura Shoaf, Managing Director of TfWM, commented: “If we didn’t do this and instead outsourced operations to a private company at a time of such major expansion then it would be extremely difficult to accurately define the scope of services required from the operator.

“That would lead to continuous and expensive commercial negotiations to agree the price for the delivery of those network changes.”