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Business Travel


NHS workers to get free National Express bus pass


NHS workers can now travel to work for free on all National Express West Midlands and National Express Coventry buses. Working through the West Midlands Bus Alliance,


the bus operator has agreed with Transport for West Midlands that it will carry all NHS staff on their services free of charge while they are on their way to and from work. Customers must show their NHS staff pass to the


driver when they get on the bus. Any NHS worker with an existing bus pass can


contact the operator to find out more about a refund form. National Express West Midlands’ commercial


director, Chris Gibbens, said: “Our customers have been asking for this, so I’m happy to say we’ve worked closely with Transport for West Midlands, via the West Midlands Bus Alliance, to make free travel to work for all NHS staff possible at this time on all National Express bus services - across the West Midlands and Coventry. “We’d like to say thank you to our NHS heroes for


everything they’re doing for the country. And I personally would like to thank all our drivers and engineering teams who are getting these crucial workers to where they need to be every day.”


National Express buses in the West Midlands and


Coventry will also carry the children of key workers to and from school for free too. Children of key workers wanting to travel for free


on our buses should make sure they have with them the confirmation letter from their school, so they can show it to the bus driver if asked.


‘We’d like to say thank you to our NHS heroes for everything they’re doing for the country’


Senior citizens and disabled people are also still


able to travel for free all day (including before 9.30am) on National Express West Midlands and National Express Coventry buses using their concessionary passes. Mayor of the West Midlands Andy Street said: “We


want to do as much as we can to support our NHS workers at this difficult time, and I am delighted that our bus companies and the Midland Metro have stepped up to offer free services.”


Skeleton timetable for local buses


National Express West Midlands is running its local bus routes to restricted timetables during the coronavirus crisis. This is in response to changes in


demand and the Government restrictions on travel. The transport operator has


worked closely with Transport for West Midlands and says it will continue to monitor passenger numbers on all routes to ensure key workers have the bus services they need. The changes include suspending


a number of very lightly used routes will be suspended for a while, and running Saturday services on the same basis as its weekday routes. On most routes, times of first and


last buses will be the same or within a few minutes of current times. Sunday services are continuing to run, but some have been cut back. Chris Gibbens, commercial


director at National Express West Midlands, said: “With these new timetables, we are still aiming to provide an effective network of bus services across the region, so key workers can get to where they need to be. “We are also making sure there


are bus services to hospitals and supermarkets for grocery shopping. “Given these unprecedented


times buses will be scheduled to turn up less often on many routes – and for that, we do apologise if it causes inconvenience. “I’d also like to take this opportunity to remind all our customers of current Government advice including to remain two metres apart at all times – when getting on and off the bus, and when choosing where to sit. “Our route planning teams are


closely monitoring passenger numbers on National Express West Midlands buses to make sure customers can safely practise social distancing on board. “All the new timetables for Monday are on our website


nxbus.co.uk and I’d urge everyone to check them before they travel.” Meanwhile, National Express’


coach arm has fully suspended its national network of services. Chris Hardy, managing director


of National Express UK Coach: “We kept a limited coach network running to be able to help those individuals with essential travel needs but it is no longer viable to continue to do this. “Passenger numbers continue to


fall as the public rightly follow Government advice to avoid non- essential travel. The decision to temporarily suspend all services is the right one based on the current unprecedented circumstances.”


Reduced services: Bus travel is being prioritised for NHS workers


Back to work: A digger at the Metro construction site


Work resumes on tram extension


Works have resumed on the Midland Metro tram extension along Broad Street to Edgbaston. The works, linking Centenary


Square to Hagley Road on the far side of Five Ways, were suspended for two weeks when the Government introduced Covid-19 social distancing measures during March. The Midland Metro Alliance


halted construction to ensure the safety of its teams and the public, but has since received further advice and clarification from the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, along with updated site operating procedures from the Construction Leadership Council. Following this, works on the


Edgbaston phase of the Birmingham Westside Metro extension have now resumed, albeit in a reduced capacity in line with industry safety procedures. Mike Olley, general manager at


Westside BID, said: “With bars, restaurants and clubs currently closed in and around Broad Street because of Covid-19, now is the perfect time for Metro works to safely continue. “The BID is delighted that this is


now happening so that when things return to normal we will be closer to a completed extension, with the Metro providing a vital link for people to access the Broad Street area.” The Midland Metro Alliance said


it had responded to ‘further advice and clarification’ from the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, along with updated site operating procedures from the Construction Leadership Council. A spokesman said: “Following


this, and with further careful consideration, works on the Edgbaston phase of the Birmingham Westside Metro extension have now resumed in a reduced capacity in line with industry safety procedures.”


May 2020 CHAMBERLINK 63


Sector Focus


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