New figures reported in the Wolverhampton Express and Star have shown that the West Midlands Metro system has never been so popular with 7.3 million passenger journeys recorded during 2018 – an increase of one million from 2017. And with extensions currently under construction hopefully this new found record will be shortlived!
The previous high was 6.6 million in 2016 (2017 saw a decrease to 6.2 million because of a six month closure of the line to Wolverhampton St George’s for track replacement during the year). West Midlands Combined Authority believe that as more extensions are built they will continue to see further large increases in passenger numbers and even before then month on month is said to be seeing increases.
Phil Hewitt, Director of West Midlands Metro, said: “When we build extensions, people use them. If you consider the transformation in public transport connections it will bring to Dudley town centre in particular, people will undoubtedly use what will be a ‘turn up and go’ service. But even before the extension to Brierley Hill opens we expect increases in passenger numbers when we open up the first leg of the Westside extension from Birmingham’s Grand Central to Centenary Square later this year. Numbers are forecast to increase again when the second leg to Edgbaston opens and after completion of the Wolverhampton city centre extension.”
The first of the extensions – the first stage of the Birmingham Westside line to Centenary Square – is due to open at the end of 2019 with the Wolverhampton City Centre extension following in 2020 and then the remainder of Birmingham Westside in 2021. A further extension is due to follow to Brierley Hill – awaiting council approval but this is expected later this month.