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National Express plans more bus fare cuts

Further West Midlands routes to benefit from reduced fares following uptake in passenger numbers after price cuts in Black Country

Transport group National Express is planning to roll out bus fare cuts further across the West Midlands after recently dropping prices in the Black Country.

In February, the bus operator announced it was reducing prices inside a new Sandwell and Dudley 'low fare zone' but the cut was not being extended to routes in Birmingham.

In an update to the stock exchange today, the Birmingham-based group said the reduction had already started to bear fruit, with higher passenger numbers and sales in the two areas.

And now the company wants to "extend the lessons from these early successes" further across the West Midlands as part of efforts to overhaul the bus division, which has suffered amid sliding passenger numbers.

The stock exchange statement falls short of actually naming specific areas and routes where more prices cuts might be introduced.

But Paul Thomas, managing director of National Express West Midlands, said: "We are always looking to make our bus fares better value for money.

"In the next few weeks, we’ll be making an announcement about ticket prices which we hope our customers will like."

The stock exchange update added that bus passenger numbers fell by 0.7 per cent in the first four months of the year although they lifted by one per cent in the most recent six weeks.

National Express added that it was looking forward to working constructively with the new West Midlands mayor Andy Street to "deliver ever-improving services and tackle congestion".

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Chief executive Dean Finch said: "I am pleased we have maintained our strong momentum into 2017, with a good revenue performance driven by both organic growth and the benefit of our recent acquisitions.

"We will continue to focus on operational excellence to drive our growth by both delivering high standard services for our customers and generating cash and returns that we can invest in future expansion."

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