Shopmobility closure in one of UK’s largest shopping centres could present opportunity for mobility companies
The Shopmobility service at Birmingham’s Bullring & Grand Central shopping centres has been closed following the administration of the UK’s largest accessible transport provider.
Operating throughout the West Midlands, the Accessible Transport Group provided accessible transport services for people in the region with mobility impairment and operated over 600 vehicles from nine depots across the West Midlands.
The West Midlands transport group entered administration in March 2019, putting more than 700 jobs and its range of mobility services at risk, including its Ring & Ride service, Shopmobility service, and a home to school service it ran on behalf of Birmingham City Council.
Acquired by the National Express Group in August 2019, National Express Accessible Transport [legally – West Midlands Accessible Transport] will now be operating all Ring and Ride accessible transport services in the West Midlands region – Birmingham, Coventry, Solihull, Sandwell, Dudley, Walsall and Wolverhampton council areas.
Speaking with Donna Eade, Shopmobility Coordinator for the National Federation of Shopmobility UK, she told THIIS that whilst the Accessible Transport Group had been acquired, the global transport provider was not taking on all of the previous services.
“Despite entering administration, the Administrators had been able to keep the Shopmobility Scheme running over the last few months, however, following the acquisition, the National Express Group were unfortunately unable to take on the Shopmobility operations,” she told THIIS.
“It has meant the scheme has sadly had to shut at fairly short notice, which has caused some inconvenience for shoppers that rely on the service to access the shopping centres. The Bullring & Grand Central are working hard to find an alternative Shopmobility provider as quickly as possible.”
An announcement on the Bullring & Grand Central’s website reads: “The Shopmobility service at Bullring & Grand Central is temporarily unavailable, as the charity which previously ran the service has sadly gone into administration.
“We are very sorry for any inconvenience this may cause. We know how valuable this service is to our visitors and we are working hard to bring in a replacement operator as soon as we can.”
The closure of the shopmobility may present an opportunity for another mobility company keen to access the substantial footfall enjoyed by the shopping centres, with an estimated 50 million-plus visitors expected to pass through the Bullring & Grand Central each year, as well as 170,000 rail travellers passing through New Street station daily, making it the busiest station outside London.https://thiis.co.uk/shopmobility-closure-in-one-of-uks-largest-shopping-centres-could-present-opportunity-for-mobility-companies/https://i2.wp.com/thiis.co.uk/wp-content/uploads/2019/08/shopmobility-birmingham.jpg?fit=1000%2C514&ssl=1https://i2.wp.com/thiis.co.uk/wp-content/uploads/2019/08/shopmobility-birmingham.jpg?resize=150%2C150&ssl=1NewsroomRetailer NewsThird SectorAccessible Transport Group,Bullring,Donna Eade,Grand Central,National Express Group,National Federation of Shopmobility UK,Ring & Ride Service,Shopmobility,West MidlandsThe Shopmobility service at Birmingham’s Bullring & Grand Central shopping centres has been closed following the administration of the UK’s largest accessible transport provider. Operating throughout the West Midlands, the Accessible Transport Group provided accessible transport services for people in the region with mobility impairment and operated over 600 vehicles...Calvin BarnettCalvin Barnettcalvin@thiis.co.ukAdministratorTHIIS Magazine