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Public Transport: West Midlands

Volume 465: debated on Tuesday 23 October 2007

To ask the Secretary of State for Transport what steps the Government has taken to improve the availability of public transport in (a) the West Midlands and (b) Coventry. (159810)

The Government have invested in long-term public transport improvements in the West Midlands, including Coventry. Funding provided to local authorities in the West Midlands region for local highways and public transport capital projects has increased from £35 million in 2000-01 to £79 million in 2007-08.

West Midlands has also benefited from significant investment in major bus schemes, with £45 million committed since 2001 to schemes that are realising major improvements in bus services. These include the Outer Circle Bus Showcase scheme in Birmingham and the Coventry Bus Network Primelines schemes. Additionally, the Government provided £4.1 million of funding for a new public transport interchange at Coleshill Parkway, which opened in August 2007.

With regard to rail, Coventry and West Midlands has benefited from the £7.6 billion investment in the West Coast Main Line upgrade. Journey times from Birmingham to London have been reduced and by the end of 2008 the number of services on this line will increase to three trains per hour. Opportunities are also being taken to improve services as part of the new West Midlands franchise. London Midland will run additional train services from December 2008 between Birmingham and Northampton and between Birmingham and Liverpool.

The Government’s Rail White Paper sets aside £128 million for improvements to Birmingham New Street to increase passenger capacity at the station. The White Paper also sets out plans for increasing capacity by 26 per cent. between 2007 and 2014 on Birmingham services in peak periods through lengthening trains and extending platforms.