National Express West Midlands is helping to save struggling Black Country high streets.
The bus operator is supporting local shops and businesses by slashing the price of its low-fare zone day tickets from £3.50 to £3. And child tickets have dropped to £1.50.
The low-fare zones cover parts of Sandwell, Dudley and Walsall, including Stourbridge, Merry Hill, Wednesbury, West Bromwich, Oldbury, Blackheath and Halesowen.
Chris Gibbens, Commercial Director at National Express West Midlands, said:
“Smaller high streets are facing huge challenges these days. Online shopping and out-of-town retail destinations make it more challenging for shops to survive.
“So we want to make it easier for our Black Country customers to pay local to stay local, visiting the great shops and attractions in the area.”
National Express West Midlands’ first low-fare zone was launched in Sandwell and Dudley in February 2017. Since then, the bus operator has seen 4,000 extra bus journeys each day on that patch.
67% of customers surveyed by Transport for West Midlands said they were making more journeys as a result of the cheaper tickets. Almost two thirds of these journeys were shopping. And half of these journeys were not being made before - National Express West Midlands' low-fare zones are helping to grow local economies.
Andy Street, the Mayor of the West Midlands, has written a 12-point Blueprint for the Modern British Town Centre in which he underlines how important it is that town centres are easy to get to.
The former John Lewis Managing Director has also set up the Regional Town Centre Taskforce, chaired by HSBC’s Jon Bramwell, which aims to help reverse the fortunes of struggling high streets and town centres.
Mr Street said:
“It is no secret that our town centres are struggling, and we need to do everything we can to help. One of the ways in which we can do this is by making them as easy and as cheap as possible to visit. The more people we can encourage into town centres, the more likely we are to see a higher footfall.
“Public transport plays a vital role in this, and so I am delighted that National Express West Midlands is reducing the price of its day tickets for low-fare zones.
“Good transport links is part of my blueprint to revitalise town centres, which also includes more housing and a revamped business rates system.”
Published 1st October 2019