Partnership agreement launches new Sandwell network

Posted: 23 October 2012 | Centro | No comments yet

Bus users in and around Sandwell will see a host of improvements thanks to a major partnership agreement…

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Bus users in and around Sandwell will see a host of improvements thanks to a major partnership agreement heralding the launch of a new network.

Better links to Merry Hill shopping centre, hospitals and West Bromwich town centre coupled with more buses, improved on-board cleaning, waiting facilities, and information systems are just some of the benefits to be had following the signing of the Voluntary Multilateral Agreement.

The agreement is between Centro, the region’s transport authority, Sandwell Council and bus operators National Express West Midlands, Arriva Midlands, Diamond, Central Buses and West Midlands Special Needs Transport.

It comes into effect with the new bus network that begins operating in Sandwell from start of service this Sunday (October 28) following a major review of services.

The VMA was signed in a ceremony at West Bromwich bus station today Tuesday October 23.

Centro chief executive Geoff Inskip said: “This is a great day for public transport users in Sandwell.

“A massive amount of hard work has been undertaken to ensure that what the public wants is at the heart of the new network, with simpler numbering and more services to the hospitals, Merry Hill and West Bromwich town centre.”

Councillor Derek Rowley, Cabinet Member for Jobs and Economy for Sandwell Borough Council, said: “The people of Sandwell are passionate about their buses.

“I am delighted that we are signing this agreement. Public transport plays a massive role in the objectives of Sandwell Council as it provides access to employment, health and leisure.”

The agreement will span a period of three years with regular monitoring meetings, and improvements taking place include:

  • New National Express West Midlands buses on services 46, 47, 47A, 99 and 222 being delivered around Christmas with further new and refurbished vehicles over the three years of the agreement
  • On-bus cleaning on key routes using West Bromwich Bus Station
  • More than 200 new bus shelters
  • Bus-friendly highways improvements
  • Enhanced information with new all operator timetables and new town connection guides
  • Electronic information displays that give a live count down in minutes to when the next bus is due
  • Improvements to bus waiting facilities, information and walking routes
  • Improvements to make interchange easier including at Blackheath and Tipton
  • Close working with hospitals across Sandwell & west Birmingham to help people get to work and access appointments

A major public consultation was held in May this year involving people visiting, working and living in Sandwell plus councillors, MPs, schools and businesses to find out what they thought could be done to improve the network.

There were more than 1,400 responses and Centro chairman Cllr John McNicholas said: “This new network gives Sandwell its own identity in terms of new buses, bus numbers and important links.

“This has been reflected in the huge numbers of people from the general public who took part in the public consultation exercise.”

Passengers can find more information about the changes by logging on to or downloading our NetNav app, which is available for Android, iPhone, and iPad from