Drivers in Coventry will be offered up to £3,000 a year in mobility credits starting from 2021 if they give up their car and use public transport as part of a £1 million scrappage scheme trial.
Transport for West Midlands (TfWM), part of the West Midlands Combined Authority (WMCA), is working up the detail of the scheme ahead of its launch.
The project has been in the making for over 12 months and is the first of its kind in the UK. It is designed to get polluting cars off the road, ease traffic congestion and improve air quality.
Mayor of the West Midlands Andy Street said: “Instead of asking people to trade in their old car for a new one, we are offering them credits to try something new – such as join a car share scheme or take the bus or train.
“Not only will people be saving money on the cost of running and maintaining their cars, but they will also help the region ease traffic congestion and improve air quality in the fight against climate change.
“This will make a considerable difference to Coventry as the city welcomes thousands of visitors next year for City of Culture.”
Cllr Jim O’Boyle, Coventry City Council cabinet member for jobs and regeneration, added: “The key now is to work up the scheme in a way that benefits people who may be dependent on using a vehicle as part of their daily responsibilities. It’s about encouraging change without imposing it.”
The trial is funded from the £22 million Future Mobility Zone grant given to the region by the Department for Transport (DfT) to develop and test new transport technology and schemes.
Later in the year TfWM will invite people, who are willing to give up their cars, to apply for the two-year pilot project.
The credits will be provided on a smartphone app through which participants will also be able to plan and book their journeys.
Cllr Ian Ward, leader of Birmingham City Council and WMCA portfolio holder for transport, said: “We can’t go on as we are with gridlocked roads costing our economy and poor air quality impacting on our health and quality of life. So TfWM is investing billions in our tram, rail, cycling and bus networks to provide sustainable alternatives to the private motor car.
“But we are also looking at innovative schemes like mobility credits to play a part by offering people real incentives to give up their cars, helping us reduce congestion and keep the region moving.”
The scrappage scheme trial comes after Coventry City Council said it will not introduce a clean air zone (CAZ).
The council, which has argued strongly against a CAZ, has set out a series of measures to reduce Nitrogen Dioxide emissions without the need for a charging zone.