Despite being so close to the ‘West Midlands’ cities, our public transport couldn’t be more different here in Warwickshire than it is in Birmingham, Solihull or Coventry.
The seven metropolitan authorities of the West Midlands join together to have one body overseeing bus services across all of their local authority areas. Warwickshire isn’t part of Transport West Midlands and instead decides to go it alone and run everything direct from the County Council.
It means that when exciting new initiatives happen on our border we often aren’t involved. It’s happening again at this very moment. As part of the plans to improve public transport in the run up to the Commonwealth Games and HS2 phase 1, a new Sprint bus service will run across the West Midlands. Two of the routes will be very close to Coleshill but despite this, we’ll be left out of the plans yet again because we are under a different administrative boundary. It’s frankly absurd.
I’ve raised this a number of times with the powers that be, but I keep getting the same response, we’re part of Warwickshire, not the West Midlands. It’s madness to think that despite all the economic evidence and frankly common sense, that we need better public transport links to the rest of the West Midlands, we’ll be out the loop again because of boundaries established back in 1974.
When people go to work, go to the shops or spend a day out visiting tourist attractions, they don’t pay attention to Council boundaries. Public transport should flow across boundaries if it’s to meet the real needs of local people. So, isn’t it about time that Warwickshire County Council recognised this and started to work together with Transport West Midlands?
The details on the latest proposal; Sprint, can be found at tfwm.org.uk. It’s well worth a look at what, at the moment, we’re missing out on because, like me, I’m sure you’ll realise how easy it could be for us to be part of it.
Please make sure you have your say today as the consultation is currently live and it’s important to let Warwickshire and the West Midlands know that Coleshill does exist!