A consultation has today (Feb 4) been launched over plans to use new powers to tackle anti-social behaviour on the buses.
Transport for West Midlands (TfWM), which is part of the West Midlands Combined Authority (WMCA), is looking to adopt new bus byelaws which would give Safer Travel teams and police officers greater powers to deal with low level nuisance on buses, at bus shelters and in bus stations.
Since 2006 crime and anti-social behaviour has reduced by more than 60 per cent thanks to the work of the Safer Travel Partnership between TfWM, West Midlands Police and British Transport Police.
But fear of crime and nuisance remains a barrier, preventing many from taking the bus.
According to research by campaign group Transport Focus, there would be 11.5 per cent more journeys by public transport if people felt safer.
The byelaws would give enforcement officers greater powers to deal with a range of anti-social acts including smoking and vaping, being intoxicated by alcohol or drugs, vandalising property, obstructing passengers, playing loud music and threatening or offensive behaviour.
Passengers and residents have between now and March 29 to ask questions and comment on the proposals.
Transport bosses are particularly keen to hear views on:
Mayor of the West Midlands Andy Street said:
“Research shows that anti-social behaviour can undermine feelings of safety and security for passengers and lead to a greater fear of crime. We know it also puts some people off travelling by bus.
“That is a real shame which is why these bus bylaws are part of our wider plans to tackle the problem. We know nuisance behaviour is something that many passengers feel strongly about so I would encourage people to take this opportunity to have their say and tell us what they think.
“No one who travels by bus should have to put up with nuisance behaviour and we want to everything we can to stamp it out.”
West Midlands Police and Crime Commissioner, David Jamieson, said:
“The safer people feel on public transport, the more likely they are to use it.
“West Midlands Police are committed to supporting the Safer Travel Partnership.
“Public safety on transport is a top priority of mine. I am pleased that these powers are now being consulted upon.”
Cllr Roger Lawrence, WMCA portfolio holder for transport and leader of the City of Wolverhampton Council, said:
“These powers are similar to ones we already have in place on our trains and metro trams.
"We want our transport users to have greater confidence that we are committed to tackling nuisance behaviour and anti-social behaviour on our buses.”
As well as online consultation a series of public consultation events have been organised to allow residents and bus passengers to discuss the plans with staff:
Thursday 7 February
Wolverhampton Bus Station, Pipers Row, Wolverhampton, WV1 3LB
Wednesday 13 February
Pool Meadow Bus Station, Fairfax Street, Coventry, CV1 5AD
Monday 18 February
Dudley Bus Station, Fisher Street, Dudley, DY2 7AB
Wednesday 27 February
Walsall Bus Station, St Paul Street, Walsall, WS1 1NR
Saturday 9 March
Birmingham High Street (near Marks & Spencer)
Wednesday 13 March
West Bromwich Bus Station, St Michaels Street, The Ringway, West Bromwich, B70 7N
Monday 18 March
Chelmsley Wood Shopping Centre, 33 Maple Walk, Birmingham B37 5TS
More information from the WMCA Media Office on 0121 214 7073/ 07887 794241/ or 0121 214 7278 or 0121 214 7651 email: firstname.lastname@example.org
Image (l-r): Sgt. Nicola Mallaber of the Safer Travel Team, Tony Dallison, National Express’ head of security UK bus and coach, PCSO Andy Pope of the Safer Travel Team, Mayor of the West Midlands Andy Street and Safer Travel Inspector Rachel Crump ahead of an operation to counter anti-social behaviour on buses last October.