The West Midlands Combined Authority Board has asked Transport for West Midlands to conduct an independent review into the WMCA’s oversight of the region’s metro services.
The review, to be carried out by an industry expert, will look into the way Transport for West Midlands manages the delivery of new extensions and operation of metro services through a wholly owned company.
This is to ensure TfWM, which is part of the WMCA, has the right structures in place to hold both metro delivery and operations to account.
The decision was prompted by West Midlands Mayor Andy Street, who visited the Midland Metro Ltd tram depot in Wednesbury yesterday where he saw first-hand the hard work of the team tasked with bringing the trams safely back to service as soon as possible following their withdrawal on Saturday 13th November. The Mayor, who chairs the WMCA, said:
“The situation with the metro is incredibly disappointing and frustrating, and so on behalf of passengers I have asked for an independent review to establish what exactly has gone wrong and what changes need to be made in how those in authority are held to account to ensure we avoid this ever happening again.
“It is such an unsatisfactory situation, but I am determined to stand up for passengers and get their questions answered and the metro back in service ASAP.”
Midland Metro Limited is still aiming to resume services within four weeks – the timeline issued when the trams were first removed from service on 13 November. Cllr Ian Ward, WMCA portfolio holder for transport and leader of Birmingham City Council added:
“The tram is an essential and valued part of our regional transport network. However I have had serious concerns about the metro construction for some time so welcome the independent review.
“The passengers and businesses have been badly let down and we owe it to them investigate this fully.”