Members, Travel and Covid 19

If you are like myself and use public transport to get to and from work, then the below information from West Midlands Network will be of use to you regarding your travel arrangements:

WEST MIDLANDS NETWORK SERVICE CHANGES FROM MONDAY 23 MARCH

Due to government advice for people to work from home and introduce social distancing as a result of the Coronavirus pandemic, there has been a significant reduction in people travelling and operators will begin to reduce the frequency of bus and rail services.

Transport for West Midlands is working closely with transport operators and key public services to provide safe, clean and functioning public transport to those who need it most during this time.

Travel Advice 

From this week you will still be able to get to where you need to go but you may need to change the time you normally travel.

  • The frequency of train services across the UK will reduce from Monday 23 March.
  • Most bus operators including National Express West Midlands (NXWM) will be reducing the frequency of bus services from Wednesday 25 March. No NXWM routes will be stopped at this stage, just made less frequent. The usual first, last and night services will remain in operation.
  • Arriva and Travel Decourcey bus services will reduce from Monday 23 March.
  • West Midland Metro services are expected to remain as normal next week.

Transport operators are working on new timetables and will publish these online as soon as possible.

Please note: Some information systems, such as the online journey planner, may take a few days to reflect some changes. Information in bus stops will not be updated due to the changing nature of the situation. We will be working hard with opertors to keep you updated in every way we can.

Stay up to date

To help you understand these changes we have created a dedicated webpage so you have one place where you can stay up to date and find out the latest information over the coming weeks. Keep checking back for updates as things may change further.

Don’t forget to follow West Midlands Network on social media for live updates and information. 

Twitter – WMNetwork 

Facebook – West Midlands Network 

Helping the community 

From Thursday 19 March 2020 and until further notice, the restriction on travel before 09.30 for holders of West Midlands Combined Authority older or disabled concessionary travel cards has been lifted, meaning they can travel free of charge on all bus*, train* and tram services in the West Midlands Network area from the start of service.

*9:30am restriction lifted on all local rail services from Monday 23 March. Excludes bus services operated by A&M Group and Flexibus.

Many leading supermarkets have decided to open early, or set aside the first hour of business exclusively for older customers and those most vulnerable. We hope that being able to use your pass earlier will allow you to take advantage of this.

Please bear in mind the Government’s advice about restricting social contact, particularly if you are over 70 or have underlying health conditions, and please do not travel if you are self-isolating. If you are unsure then please refer to the latest advice from the NHS and Public Health England at www.nhs.uk/conditions/coronavirus-covid-19/.

Need to pause your Direct Debit travel card?

Due to the ongoing situation, should you wish to pause your Direct Debit travel pass purchased from us, we suggest cancelling the Direct Debit payment with your bank directly. This can normally be done easily through your banking app or by calling them. No need to call or email us. We are experiencing very high demand at our contact centre and are unable to get back to everyone as quickly as we would like.

To reactivate your pass please contact us within 6 months.

If you have a Direct Debit with a transport operator please check their website for their policy on suspending travel cards.

*What happens to travel cards that I cannot use?*

If you hold a Transport for West Midlands Swift Card

If you hold a Card – you should keep the pass in your possession and when you return to work contact TWFM and they will issue a refund for the amount of full weeks the card has been inactive based on the date you last used your card and reinstate your card.

If you hold a Paper Ticket – you will need to return the pass to TFWM with a covering note, you can do this by sending a photograph in order to submit your application for a refund. Once processed your refund will go back into the bank account you use to pay for your Direct Debit travel pass.

Please see https://www.networkwestmidlands.com/get-in-touch/covid19-refund-scheme/ for more information.

Walsall Community Transport sets up ‘wellness visits’

From Monday 23 March Walsall Community Transport will be making ‘wellness visits’ instead of taking home delivery orders for shopping. They are focusing on making up ‘Kindness Packs’ for the elderly and coordinating similar activity with other community centres in the area. Keep following their Facebook page for updates: www.facebook.com/WalsallCommunityTransport/

Stay active whilst staying at home

With many of us in self-isolation, prioritising our mental and physical health has never been more important. Sport England have come up with some practical advice for keeping active as your routine looks to change: click here to learn more.