Transport for West Midlands (TfWM) is to take over operation of the Midland Metro from National Express in October 2018, when the current concession finishes.
TfWM says existing staff will transfer to a new subsidiary company, Midland Metro Ltd, which will be wholly owned by the West Midlands Combined Authority (WMCA). The WMCA board was told that the tendering process to appoint a private operator would cost ‘several million pounds’.
The forthcoming expansion of the Metro is forecast to see the network triple in size and passenger numbers grow to over 30 million. This is expected to generate profits of around £50 million over an 11-year period, which WMCA intends to channel back into the network.
National Express has operated Midland Metro since the first line opened in 1999, initially as part of a consortium. Following National Express’s sale of the c2c franchise to Trenitalia, operation of the Midland Metro is its last remaining involvement in rail in the UK.
Cllr Roger Lawrence, WMCA lead for transport, said: ‘We believe bringing services in house will provide the extra flexibility and adaptability needed to meet this exciting new chapter while generating millions of pounds for the benefit of passengers and taxpayers’.