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The Birmingham Post has reported More passengers on the buses in West Midlands, a week after the Centre for Cities produced a report that Britain's largest cities need their own ‘Oyster' after large urban areas outside of London have seen bus use plummet or stagnate.

The Post has reported that for the first time in decades, Passenger Transport Authority CENTRO has said passenger numbers have risen.

Passenger transport authority Centro said passenger numbers rose by 5.1 million to 330.5 million in the year to the end of September 2008.

In the year ending March 2008, passengers fell by about 200,000.

The figures show that the West Midlands continues to have the most popular bus service out of other large conurbations outside of London. This is despite the Centre for Cities reporting that West Midlands residents made an average 32 bus journeys in comparison to 37 in 1997.

Centro chief executive Geoff Inskip said the increase called into question a recent report by thinktank, the Centre for Cities, which claimed that passengers were abandoning buses because of a failure to provide good services at cheap prices. According to the Centre for Cities, West Midlands residents made an average 37 bus journeys a year in 1997 but only 32 journeys today.

The following table from GMPTE's (Greater Manchester Public Transport Executive) Annual Report Performance Appendix 2007/8 shows Birmingham continues to have the largest number of Passenger bus journeys (per 100,000 people) and journeys on bus outside of London. It also notes we have 35.0 million Passenger heavy rail journeys per annum.

The increase in bus passengers may, however, be a reaction to higher petrol prices as Birmingham City Council Transportation Scrutiny Committee chairman Martin Mullaney wonders. He suggested it gives pause for though on the planned £180 million extension of the Midland Metro from Snow Hill to Five Ways with £180 million buying "an awful lot of buses”


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