Homeless given free emergency bus travel
ROUGH sleepers can get free emergency bus travel to help them find a bed for the night under a new scheme.
Bus company National Express West Midlands has donated emergency bus tickets to help the city’s homeless get about.
They will be issued as scratchcard day passes to be handed out by frontline workers from councils and charities across the West Midlands.
They can be used by rough sleepers to find a hostel bed for the night, travel to benefits meeting or medical appointment. Staff who make an appointment for a rough sleeper can issue the pass to help them get there.
The measure has been developed by the bus company working with West Midlands Mayor Andy Street’s Homelessness Task Force.
Last month, National Express donated a redundant doubledecker bus to the Birmingham Rotary Club to be converted into a mobile emergency shelter for up to nine rough sleepers at a time.
Tom Stables, managing director of National Express West Midlands, said: “National Express has its headquarters in the heart of Digbeth, so we all understand how important it is to tackle homelessness.
“One bus ticket can get a rough sleeper to a place where they can get help. That could make all the difference in a crisis situation.”
Mayor Street added: “Homelessness and rough sleeping is a complex issue. It requires a team approach through the Homelessness Task Force to begin to get it under control.
“However, one simple step we are often told we could take, and which we know would have a big impact, is if we provided a way for people to travel to where they are getting support.
“Whether this is getting medical help, getting to an appoint- ment for emergency housing or hostel accommodation, the chances are that travel will be involved and it’s not fair that further cost is put on people who are at their most vulnerable. We’re grateful to National Express for donating these passes which will be really invaluable to people who need them the most and hopefully continue with the progress we are making in tackling rough sleeping here in the West Midlands.”
The scheme will be run as a pilot at first. National Express West Midlands will be working with St Basil’s and the Homelessness Task Force to monitor its usefulness and effectiveness.
National Express West Midlands has donated bus tickets to help the homeless get about in emergency