Transport User Voice June 2024 – Our Board meeting in Birmingham

31 May 2024

Board members out and about

A selfie taken by Transport Focus Board member Robert Wilson with a Transport Safety Officer A selfie at Birmingham New Street station with Board members Robert Wilson and Tricia Hayes with Transport Focus Chairman Nigel Stevens and two Transport Safety Officers

Transport Focus Board members and staff were able to see the delivery of passenger and road user support from two different perspectives as part of the recent public Board Meeting held in Birmingham.

Firstly, they accompanied some of the region’s first Transport Safety Officers (TSO’s) in the local area, whose primary role is to provide a visible presence on the public transport network in the West Midlands.

The West Midlands has about 13 specially trained officers who are deployed to deal with low-level nuisance, disorder and anti-social behaviour – targeting routes and locations based on reports received from transport staff or the general public. They have the powers to issue fixed penalty fines for behaviour such as smoking, littering, disorder, vandalism and throwing fireworks.

They support and provide customer service to both staff and passengers and work on improving passenger perception of safety across the region’s transport network. Board members and staff accompanied the TSO’s out on patrol on buses, trams and trains in Birmingham and Walsall to observe their role out on the network.

It was interesting to observe how they assisted passengers when needed. From advising people to behave in a more appropriate manner, to approaching a young girl crying who shared that she was being bullied at school.

The second visit was to the Regional Transport Co-ordination Centre (RTCC). This centre helps manage disruptions to the road network. It’s a hub for Transport for West Midlands, transport operators, emergency services and local authorities. The RTCC allows all these partners to work together in one place.

Board and staff members heard that as the demand for travel increases because of the continued growth in the region’s population, the centre’s role has become increasingly important – plans for the future include upgrading infrastructure to help meet demand.

The Centre offered the opportunity to see how information on all modes across the region was being used to proactively manage and minimise disruption to road users. During the visit, they also witnessed some real time interventions, as some early action by the Centre’s team made a real difference to the flow of traffic coming out of central Birmingham at that particular time of day. Staff at the Centre were also able to discuss the real benefit of lessons learned from and applied during the Commonwealth Games.


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