NEW byelaws are proposed to clamp down on anti-social behaviour on buses and in bus stations across the West Midlands.

A proposed set of new byelaws forbid a range of anti-social acts on the bus network including smoking and vaping, drunk and disorderly behaviour, playing loud music, vandalism, threatening and offensive behaviour and obstructing other passengers.

Similar byelaws are already in force on trains and trams, but Transport for West Midlands, part of the West Midlands Combined Authority, is to become the first local authority in the country to adopt them on buses.

Giving greater powers to police – the new byelaws will mean officers can direct people causing a nuisance to leave the bus or bus station, or issue fines for more serious incidents.

Officials say crime and anti-social behaviour on the region’s public transport has reduced by more than 60 per cent since 2006 thanks to the work of the Safer Travel Partnership between TfWM, West Midlands Police and the British Transport Police. But, according to surveys by passenger campaign group Transport Focus, more people would use buses if they felt safer and more comfortable.

A public consultation on the proposals last year found overwhelming support among bus users for the new byelaws which have now been given the thumbs up from the WMCA Board and are expected to come into force next spring following final approval from the Ministry for Housing, Communities and Local Government.

Mayor of the West Midlands Andy Street, chairman of the WMCA, said: “While our public transport is incredibly safe, we know these types of nuisance behaviour on our buses can undermine those feelings of security for passengers.

“So working with the Police and Crime Commissioner and his office through the Safer Travel Partnership we’ve been looking at ways to cut crime and anti-social behaviour on our public transport network, and that’s exactly what these new byelaws will help do.

“No one who travels by bus should have to put up with nuisance behaviour, and we want to do everything we can to stamp it out.”

West Midlands Police and Crime Commissioner, David Jamieson, added: “The safer people feel on public transport, the more likely they are to use it. The Safer Travel Partnership plays a key role in maintaining people’s confidence in their safety on public transport and West Midlands Police is a key player in the partnership.

“I have been campaigning for these tougher powers for a number of years and I am pleased that our officers will now be able to take more robust action against those who act in an anti-social way on public transport.

“With fewer officers than in 2010, it is vital that police have the powers to be more effective. These new byelaws will give officers much tougher powers to take action against those who disrupt public transport services and those travelling on it. No one should have to put up with anti-social behaviour and these new powers will help the police and other agencies tackle the issue.”