Free shuttle bus service for NHS and social care staff

West Midlands ring and ride minibuses are being redeployed as free shuttle buses for NHS hospital staff and key workers supporting social care services across the region.

The majority of regular elderly and vulnerable ring and ride users are now on a strict 12 week lockdown following the coronavirus outbreak meaning the minibuses were not being used.

So the buses, operated by National Express Accessible Transport under contract from Transport for West Midlands, will instead be redeployed as shuttle buses ferrying NHS staff from car parks and Metro stops to the region’s major hospitals.

Discussions between the TfWM bosses and NHS providers revealed that since the outbreak many more staff are choosing to drive to work to both reduce the risk of infection and because bus, tram and rail services have been scaled back as demand has fallen. Staffing at many hospitals has also increased with retired doctors and nurses as well as other healthcare professionals returning to work to help out during the pandemic meaning hospital car parks are full.

The new shuttle bus services, in many cases running from 7am to 10pm five days a week, will ferry staff to hospital from park and ride car parks and Metro stops. TfWM, which is part of the West Midlands Combined Authority, is also looking to operate a staff shuttle service to the new Nightingale Hospital being built at the NEC.

Each minibus will carry a maximum of two passengers to ensure social distancing is maintained. Busy locations will have six minibuses on a continuous circuit between the hospital and designated car park. The service will be regularly reviewed and adapted to meet the needs of NHS staff. Andy Street, Mayor of the West Midlands, said:

“Our NHS workers are on the frontline in these incredibly challenging and difficult times, and we should be doing all we can to support them.

“Not only has Transport for West Midlands been able to keep the public transport system running so NHS staff and other key workers can continue to get to work, but now we are re-deploying Ring and Ride services to provide a further mode of transport for NHS workers and hospital staff.

“On behalf of everyone at TfWM and the WMCA I want to say a massive thank you to our incredible NHS staff who are working around the clock in these unprecedented circumstances.”

The service starts today, and hospitals and medical facilities served include Russells Hall Hospital, Walsall Manor, New Cross and the Queen Elizabeth Hospital in Birmingham.

For a full list and service times, visit


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