Shabana has written to the West Midlands Mayor regarding her concerns with public transport provision at Aston Villa matches.
Widely-shared video footage of a recent match at Villa Park showed large queues at Aston and Witton stations, with reports of people waiting in the cold for hours.
Fans have highlighted that West Midlands Railway has outsourced its management of the queues on match-days.
In her letter to Andy Street, the strategic lead for transport in the region, Shabana asks the Mayor to ensure the safety of Villa fans as they make their way to and from matches.
Shabana has also asked the Mayor to outline what further engagement his office will have with West Midlands Railway and Villa Park regarding increased capacity at the stadium.
You can read the letter in full below.
Letter to the West Midlands Mayor
I am writing regarding match-day public transport provision at Villa Park.
I have recently been contacted by a number of constituents regarding widely-shared video footage and news reports of large queues at Aston and Witton train stations after a recent match at Villa Park. My constituents have shared with me videos showing queues of fans, by some reports over a mile long, waiting in the cold to catch a train.
Fans have highlighted that West Midlands Railway has outsourced is management of the queues on match-days. They inform me that when trains arrive there are too few carriages and not enough people allowed on at a time, leaving some trains empty as they depart the stations.
In addition, reports of problems in the queues such as cannabis use, drunken and antisocial behaviour, have raised additional safety concerns. Some supporters are also forced into the road due to the size of the queues, and others have blocked drives of local residents.
Fans are doing their bit by using public transport to get to and from matches, avoiding car use, but are not supported by an efficient public transport system that can operate at full capacity. It is unacceptable that fans should have to wait for hours in the cold as a result.
As the strategic lead for transport in the West Midlands, I would like you to work with West Midlands Railway to address capacity issues on match days. I would urge you to listen to the calls of football fans to increase train frequency at Aston and Witton stations on match days, and consider working with the club to introduce shuttle buses for fans who do not wish to drive.
In advance of this week’s fixture at Villa Park, can you urgently respond to the above to ensure the safety of Villa fans as they make their way to and from matches.
Please can you also outline what further engagement your office will have with West Midlands Railway and Villa Park, particularly regarding and future plans to increase stadium capacity at the ground, and the effect this may have on public transport.
I am sending a copy of this letter to Julian Edwards, Managing Director for the West Midlands Rail Executive, Christian Purslow, Chief Executive of Aston Villa F.C., and Birmingham City Council’s Safety and Advisory Group.
Member of Parliament for Birmingham Ladywood