Drivers in the West Midlands can enjoy a festive tipple without the risk of drink driving by taking advantage of extensive public transport services this Christmas and New Year.
With police last week launching a Christmas crack-down on drink driving, a full timetable of public transport during the holidays has been unveiled by transport authority Centro.
Boxing Day in particular will see a comprehensive network of frequent bus and tram services arriving in city centres from 8am so shop staff can get to work and shoppers can bag an early bargain in the sales. The last services will depart around 8pm.
Centro chairman Councillor Angus Adams said:
“It is great news that we have been able to provide such extensive services for people in the West Midlands over the Christmas and New Year holidays.
“With people visiting family and friends or going to office parties, many of us will be enjoying a festive drink. But it’s all too easy to find yourself over the limit so it is important that people take advantage of the excellent public transport on offer.
“Boxing Day is often one of the busiest shopping days of the year with people heading to the winter sales and it is particularly pleasing that so many services will be operating.”
National Express West Midlands will run Boxing Day buses on 82 key routes across the region.
This will be boosted by Centro using public money to provide 51 further services, in those places where no buses are being run on a commercial basis.
On December 27 most buses will run Sunday services and run Saturday timetables between December 28 and New Year’s Eve.
Meanwhile the Midland Metro will operate a 20 minute service between 08:30am and 7pm on Boxing Day and there will be a Sunday service on December 27. A normal service will run between December 28 and New Year’s Eve.
New Year’s Day will see most buses, trains and trams operate a Sunday bus service.
Trains will have a two day scheduled break on December 25 and 26. A reduced service will operate on local routes via Birmingham New Street on December 27 and 28.
The rebuilding of New Street station will continue during the break, with a new section of bridge being lifted into the station, which will extend the Navigation Street footbridge to create of a new entrance on Hill Street.
The foundations for the new public walkways on the east side of the station’s south entrance will also be built and a tower crane put in place at the front of the station, ready to construct a new public square opposite the Bullring. The station will reopen on December 27.
Ring & Ride the charity which provides transport for elderly and disabled people who cannot use conventional public transport will run every day including Christmas Day when it will be available to wheelchair users who are registered with the organisation.
Centro started paying for Boxing Day bus services on key routes eight years ago. Before that there had been no services for more than two decades.
The move has proved extremely popular and passenger numbers are now so high that National Express West Midlands operates many of the routes on a commercial basis without the need for a subsidy from the public purse.
Full details of public transport services over the entire festive period including Boxing Day timetables are available at www.networkwestmidlands.com under ‘festive travel information’.