It may not be just children and young people who are dreading the first week of September. Anyone who drives in the West Midlands will probably not be looking forward to the surge in traffic when the schools go back.
Data from Transport for West Midlands (formerly Centro) shows that there is 20% more rush-hour traffic in May during term time than during the holidays in August.
Birmingham City Council figures indicate that 1 out of every 5 cars on the road in the busiest part of rush hour is taking a child to school. Over half a million people in the West Midlands are aged 5-19, and about 30% of them go to school by car - that’s 165,000 trips out of of 825,000.
The National Travel Survey suggests that 15% of all trips by West Midlands residents are for education. These journeys stop in the holidays. Young people do make extra leisure trips in the holidays, but working parents take holidays too and therefore they make fewer commuting trips.
There are 1.2 million jobs in the West Midlands - about 60% of work trips are made by car.
A House of Commons committee published results this week showing that the West Midlands is missing its targets for reducing air pollution. Public Health England calculates that almost 1,500 people in the West Midlands are dying from pollution each year.
Peter Coates, National Express Managing Director, says:
“All this traffic is having an effect on people’s health. A full bus takes about 50 cars off the road. And as part of the West Midlands Bus Alliance, we are fully committed to increasing the number of people taking the bus by 5%."
“To help combat term-time congestion, we offer students unlimited travel on all our buses in Birmingham, the Black Country and Coventry - all day, all term long - from under £8 per week with a Student West Midlands Bus Pass. You can now pay for it with a monthly Direct Debit."
“Taking the bus to work not only saves money and the environment - busy commuters can get back some ‘me time’ on the journey. A National Express Travelcard is the best way to travel to work across the West Midlands and Coventry. It allows unlimited travel on all National Express buses all day, every day - including evenings and weekends. Weekly travel is £12.60 per week, £11 for travel just in the Black Country or £11 for travel just within Coventry.”
Published 5th September 2016