Passengers using Walsall’s recently refurbished St Paul’s bus station can now use free wifi while they wait.
The free service is provided in partnership between TfWM and 21st Century Passenger Systems Ltd, a Journeo company, as part of a trial and if successful, could be rolled out at other bus stations in the West Midlands.
It follows the completion last year of a £680,000 refurbishment of the bus station with new energy-efficient LED lighting, refurbished toilets, an improved cycle storage area, driver rest facilities, CCTV upgrade and new public information displays.
It means that commuters will be able to check their travel arrangements, catch up on news headlines or update their Facebook and Instagram accounts without using their valuable data allowance.
The station is run by Transport for West Midlands (TfWM), part of the West Midlands Combined Authority (WMCA), and before lockdown seen footfall peak at eight million passengers accessing nearly half a million bus departures a year.
The free wi-fi will be available for 20 minutes per visit for customers with no data limits initially and is just one of the ways TfWM is working with its technology partners to encourage the use of public transport. A fully interactive information kiosk is also available at the station, allowing those without smartphones to journey plan, also.
TfWM managing director Laura Shoaf said: “Our bus stations are gateways to our towns and cities and that is why we have been investing in them.
“Free wi-fi is just one way we can improve the passenger experience and make bus travel more attractive for those visiting the town centre.
“If this trial proves popular with passengers we will look at offering free wi-fi at more of our bus stations.”
About Transport for West Midlands
Transport for West Midlands is part of the West Midlands Combined Authority.
The WMCA comprises:
Constituent members: Birmingham City Council, City of Wolverhampton Council, Coventry City Council, Dudley Metropolitan Borough Council, Solihull Metropolitan Borough Council, Sandwell Metropolitan Borough Council and Walsall Metropolitan Borough Council.
Non-constituent authorities with reduced voting rights: Cannock Chase District Council; Nuneaton and Bedworth Borough Council; Redditch Borough Council; Tamworth Borough Council; Telford and Wrekin Council; North Warwickshire Borough Council; Rugby Borough Council; Stratford-on-Avon District Council; Shropshire Council; Warwickshire County Council.
LEPs (Local Enterprise Partnerships): LEPs are voluntary partnerships between local authorities and businesses. They determine local economic priorities and lead on economic growth and job creation within their areas. They are: Black Country LEP, Coventry and Warwickshire LEP and Greater Birmingham and Solihull LEP
Observer organisations awaiting membership: Herefordshire Council and The Marches LEP