National Express expands West Midlands Ring and Ride service

Posted: 25 March 2022 | | No comments yet

In order to improve access to transport – as well as to tackle social isolation and improve mental health – National Express has expanded its Ring and Ride door-to-door minibus service in the West Midlands.

National Express announces expansion of Ring and Ride minibus service

Credit: National Express

National Express has announced that the West Midlands Ring and Ride door-to-door minibus service is now available to use in the evenings following an expansion of the service. Evening services have been re-introduced to give the 11,500 registered Ring and Ride customers the opportunity to travel until 23:00, Monday to Saturday.

The later hours have been matched with an increase in the number of vehicles available throughout the day, as the service expands to meet growing demand for people to go out and about following the relaxation of COVID-19 restrictions.

Ring and Ride is available to anybody who cannot, or finds it difficult, to use regular public transport services due to mobility constraints or social isolation. The service is operated by National Express Transport Solutions, under contract from Transport for West Midlands (TfWM), and can be used for visiting friends and family, a day or evening out, shopping or even going to and from work.

While demand for the service was down during the pandemic, some of the buses and drivers were redeployed as a free shuttle service from key transport hubs to support hospital and health service workers.

Andy Street, the Mayor of the West Midlands, said: “Ring and Ride provides a valuable service for many of our residents who would otherwise be stuck at home, empowering them to enjoy things that many of us take for granted, such as a trip to the shops or a meal out. By giving easy access to more places, Ring and Ride can be critical in tackling social isolation and improving mental health. So, I am therefore thrilled that we are able to extend the scheme, bringing on-board more buses and running the service for longer hours.”

The re-introduction of evening service follows the approval of the West Midlands Combined Authority’s (WMCA) annual budget, which included £6.7 million funding towards the accessible transport service.

Councillor Ian Ward, WMCA Portfolio Holder for Transport and Leader of Birmingham City Council, said: “Ring and Ride provides a lifeline for many people across the region and, as we emerge from the pandemic, it’s good to see that more people are using this service to get out and about. That’s why the councils of the WMCA were delighted to support this increase in buses and opening hours. Now, thanks to this continued funding, Ring and Ride users can enjoy an evening out, too.” 

Sarah Gager, Regional Managing Director for the Midlands at National Express Transport Solutions, said: “Accessible transport plays a vital role in tackling social isolation and loneliness, and we are committed to delivering the safest, most reliable and inclusive transport services for our communities. We are delighted to be working with TfWM to reintroduce the evening Ring and Ride services this week. By enhancing the service, we can ensure that everybody is able to access local facilities and activities in their area.”