BETTER transport links could be key to driving down unemployment in Solihull, road chiefs have said.
Councillor David Jamieson, cabinet member for transport and highways, asked for a report, looking at how his department can help boost the economy.
In particular, there’s a drive to improve public transport between areas of high unemployment and where the jobs are.
The proposals received cross-party backing at this month’s cabinet meeting.
“We want people to know that we’re about more than just pot-holes,” said Coun Jamieson.
“I asked our officers to put together a report looking at how we can help improve the prosperity of the borough.”
North Solihull has the highest level of unemployment, with many young people not owning a car.
There is also less public transport, making it more difficult to travel to employment centres.
Coun Ted Richards (Con, Castle Bromwich) described the bus-journey between his ward and Solihull town centre as “torturous”
“It takes an hour on the bus,” he said. “And if people are spending two, two and a half hours a day travelling, it’s going to put them off.”
Pockets of deprivation also exist in areas like Olton and Elmdon and the local authority has said it’s important not to neglect these neighbourhoods.
Coun Ken Rushen (Lib Dem, Lyndon) suggested that more bus lanes and perhaps an “express service” would make bus travel easier.
Transport authority Centro is planning a shake-up of its services in the north of the borough and asked people their views last months.