Maria Machancoses, Midlands Connect Programme Director,
West Midlands Integrated Transport Authority
Maria Machancoses is the programme director of Midlands Connect, which brings together 23 Local Authorities and 9 Local Enterprise Partnerships to develop a vision and strategy for transport connectivity throughout the region. Maria will deliver a case study on smart ticketing at Midlands Connect at Accelerate: Rail 2018.
“The Midlands is determinant to have a greater role in the transport investment decision making by becoming one of the largest statutory Sub-National Transport Bodies in the country ”
What does the recently announced £48bn of investment through CP6 mean for the Midlands Connect project?
This latest £48bn announcements recognise how vital a strong transport infrastructure is to the success of keeping the UK economy moving. They also represent a commitment to the medium term future of British rail – a commitment which now has to be spent strategically to make sure the UK receives the best returns from it.
Midlands Connect is already working with government on the Midlands Rail Hub which, when complete, will better link the East and West of the Midlands, deliver an additional 10 trains per hour into Birmingham and place an extra 85,000 seats a day on the Midlands rail network. This is the Midlands’ flagship rail project which needs to be delivered ahead of the arrival of HS2. As part of our ongoing work with the Department we will expect some of the £48bn to deliver the Midlands Rail Hub.
Why is smart-ticketing central to Midlands Connect’s work?
By the end of 2018, the government aims to give all customers using local rail services the ability to use smart tickets. Midlands Connect sits on the National Smart Ticketing Delivery Board ensuring that the National Programme is complemented by the Midlands individual ambition and need.
Midlands Connect is working with Government and its partners, including Transport for West Midlands, to consider how smart ticketing can be extended to other modes of transport across the region.
What can other local authorities learn from the Midlands Connect model?
The Midlands is determinant to have a greater role in the transport investment decision making by becoming one of the largest statutory Sub-National Transport Bodies in the country – playing a unique role as the single voice for the Midlands with the legitimacy to prioritise potential investments based on our recently published Midlands Connect Transport Strategy.
Why is it important to attend Accelerate: Rail 2018 and what can delegates expect to hear from you?
To hear from our current work on the Midlands Rail Hub and in particular about those infrastructure and non-infrastructure measures required to increase rail capacity in the Midlands by up to an additional 10 trains per hour; which could result in an additional 85,000 seats per day. The knock-on benefits to this capacity issue (mainly around Birmingham) is that connections between the East and West of the region can achieve substantially increased capacity; as can other corridors to the South West and South of the Midlands.