Commuters can now take advantage of extra free parking at Four Oaks railway station with the opening of a new £2 million Park and Ride extension.
Centro, the region's public transport delivery body, has completed the work in just under four months, increasing Park and Ride capacity at the station by almost 20%.
The scheme, which built a steel framed single-deck car park over one of the existing car parks, added 55 more spaces to the existing 275 at the busy station near Sutton Coldfield.
The aim is to ease overcrowding at the Park and Ride facility - which proved so popular with commuters that it filled up well before the end of the morning rush hour.
Cllr Kath Hartley, vice-chair of the region’s Transport Delivery Committee, said: "The free parking spaces we provide at Four Oaks and other stations across the West Midlands have been hugely successful in attracting thousands of motorists to make the bulk of their daily commute by train.
“Park and Ride is extremely popular and spaces get snapped up very quickly each day.
“We are delighted with this trend and we want to keep encouraging more people to leave their cars and take the train, so we have been expanding these facilities wherever possible.
“Land availability can be a barrier to expansion but at Four Oaks we have got around that by building upwards.
“I would like to congratulate all concerned in designing the solution and getting the job completed so quickly. A job well done.”
The extra spaces will also help combat congestion and carbon emissions by taking a further 32,000 commuter car journeys off local roads each year.
London Midland head of Cross City services, David Whitley, said “Passengers want their travel made simple. Park and Ride is a great way of improving journeys. The extra capacity this investment brings will be a great benefit to our passengers while taking more cars off the road.”
The scheme also included installation of low energy lighting, CCTV cameras and help points linked to the Network Safety and Security Centre.
Centro and its partners have invested more than £15 million in Park and Ride facilities since 1997 to provide more than 8,000 free spaces at 38 rail stations and three Midland Metro stops across the region.
These spaces are calculated to take more than three million journeys off the region's roads each year, reducing carbon dioxide emissions by at least 6,000 tonnes.
Picture caption: Cllr Kath Hartley and London Midland’s Dave Whitley point commuters to extra Park & Ride space at Four Oaks.
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Since 2007, London Midland has been providing train services to and from London in the south, to Birmingham in the Midlands and Liverpool in the north-west. Over 60 million passenger journeys a year are made using on the network and London Midland manage 148 stations and operate
over 1,300 services a day.
London Midland is owned by Govia, the partnership between the Go-Ahead Group and Keolis. Govia
is the UK’s busiest rail operator, responsible for nearly 30 per cent of UK passenger rail journeys through its three rail companies, GTR (which includes Gatwick Express services), Southeastern and London Midland. Further information on Govia is available at www.govia.info
London Midland has won a range of awards, including Best Local Transport Integration, four Rail Business Awards for marketing, public relations and customer information, five Golden Spanner Awards for Engineering, three IOIC awards for internal communication and three Railstaff Awards for Outstanding Customer Service, Lifesaving and Charity Work.
In 2013 London Midland was awarded the Investors in People (IiP) Silver Award and been awarded the 5 Star award by the European Foundation for Quality Management (EFQM) in 2012.