Oyster and barrier improvements for West Midlands

The Birmingham Mail has reported on two improvements for public transport in the Greater Birmingham area. The first improvement will be Ticket barriers for Birmingham stations with Birmingham New Street, Moor Street, Snow Hill, University and Five Ways stations having electronic ticket barriers installed.

The new measures are being delivered by London Midland who hope the barriers will end nuisance fare dodging with London Midland managing director Steve Banaghan saying they will act like a ‘ring of steel’ around Birmingham. Barriers were removed from New Street in the early 90s but a six-week fare dodging blitz in October 2001 when staff checked tickets at the station netted £190,000 with staff continuing to man the station from June 2002.

Electronic barriers will be placed at Five Ways and University (Edgbaston) next month, followed by Snow Hill and then Moor Street in mid-April [and] will be completed when barriers are installed at New Street Station later in the summer.

Importantly the automatic gates will provide intelligence on the levels of passengers on routes which should help London Midland cater for the routes it serves. What now remains to be sorted is for ticket machines and ticket offices at the many stations currently without such facilities such as Cannock. There are long term plans from CENTRO for ticket machines and a ticket office at Cannock for example which together with the barriers should help London Midland capture the many people who travel on the Chase line without tickets and should furthermore help pay for the improvements and the improved twice hourly service between Cannock and Birmingham New Street.

The recent planning application for the barriers at Moor Street Station, as a listed building, were approved. The layout of the barriers and the current layout of the railings is shown below.

Application number
Installation of automatic ticket gates at Birmingham Moor Street railway

The second improvement is the news that Birmingham commuters to get London-style smart cards. CENTRO began trials last year of the swipe-and-go card which allows passengers to top up the card before travelling. Buses will be refitted with brand new machines this year with elderly and disabled people using the new cards from April with the system rolled out to everyone else from October.

“This is the one project that will transform public transport across the Midlands and it is the way forward.

“Everyone has seen the benefits of Oyster in London and people in the West Midlands need something like this.

“The technology is here and so we should use it.”

Let's hope we see some of the benefits of the Oyster system in London where Oyster card users are rewarded with cheaper prices than those using cash.


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