The number of people catching the bus in the West Midlands has increased by almost eight million over the last year thanks to major investment in the network.
New figures reveal that passenger numbers were up to 267.1 million between March 2018 and March 2019. This is up from 259.3 million during the previous year.
The increase follows the introduction of low-fare zones and a decision to extend half-price travel to all 16-18-year-olds.
Convenient payment by mobile phone, the Swift travel card, contactless cards and live timetable apps are also making bus travel easier.
The increase in passenger numbers is also the result of more investment in highways and junctions.
Mayor of the West Midlands Andy Street said: ‘This large increase in bus passengers comes at a time when bus usage is in decline in many other towns and cities.
‘I truly believe it is thanks to great innovations like low fare zones, half-price travel for more young people and smart ticketing, delivered with our Bus Alliance partners, that we are clearly making an impact with eight million more journeys last year.’
The West Midlands Bus Alliance brings together bus operators, local councils, and other partners to work together to drive forward investment in bus services.
Cllr Ian Ward, WMCA portfolio holder for transport and leader of Birmingham City Council, commented: ‘With 267 million journeys, bus is by far the most popular form of public transport in the region and rightly we are backing buses with investment and innovation, such as mobile apps delivering live travel information.
‘Buses are playing a huge part in our plans to tackle congestion and improve our air quality and I would encourage more people to give it go.’