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Renewed West Midlands partnership to work towards 100 targets, from ticketing to stations

The Swift smart card is to be rolled out across the West Midlands through the renewal of a partnership first set up six years ago.

Chiltern Railways, West Midlands Rail (WMR) and Transport for West Midlands (TfWM) have renewed their partnership, pledging to work together to meet over 100 targets over the next three years.

Their plans include delivering and expanding the Swift card on Chiltern services, a possible loyalty scheme for the region, more ticket vending machines and increasing the payment methods that passengers can use to pay for their journeys.

The agreement, signed at Birmingham’s Moor Street station, also sets out plans to improve station design and facilities, train facilities, connections and customer service.

This partnership was first signed between Chiltern Railways and former public transport body Centro in 2012 and delivered major improvements in the region, such as cycle parking at Dorridge station, a new car park at Solihull, and faster journeys between Birmingham and London, as well as greater sharing of information about planned and unplanned disruptions.

Dave Penney, managing director of Chiltern Railways, said: “I am delighted to renew this partnership with our colleagues at TfWM and WMR, continuing a relationship that serves the needs of our customers across a region that is vital to the UK economy.

“In renewing this partnership, we are looking forward to playing our part in delivering key projects like Midlands Rail Hub and continuing to invest in our stations.

“We want to use our experience to ensure that the West Midlands’ rail network is resilient and can provide a high-quality service whilst it is developed.”

Cllr Mark Winnington, vice chair of WMR, said that the agreement aims to deliver a “new era” for rail travel across the region.

“It will make train travel the most attractive mode of choice for people living in and travelling to and from the region,” he continued. “By working with TfWM and Chiltern we will deliver a network that plays a key role in making the West Midlands a place in which to do business, visit and live.”

Chair of the West Midlands Combined Authority’s transport delivery committee, Cllr Richard Worrall, added: “The original agreement worked very well and we now take it on to the next level.

“We believe working with the rail industry to improve services is the right way to champion the needs of passengers across the region.”

The agreement is to be assessed against network reliability, more people using rail, happier travellers, better and safer stations, and better trains.

It will run until the end of Chiltern’s franchise in December 2021.

Top image: Chris Hepburn


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