“We need to encourage more residents, business owners and visitors to choose public transport as an alternative to the car,” says Birmingham City Council leader
Plans to bring forward the West Midlands’ first rapid Sprint bus are going ahead, after Transport for West Midlands (TfWM) published a legal notice of intent to prepare two enhanced partnership schemes for the first two Sprint routes.
These new Sprint routes will be on the A34 and A45 and will be delivered prior to the commencement of the 2022 Commonwealth Games.
The plans for developing the Sprint come as part of a wider investment in road, rail, bus, tram and cycling infrastructure, approved in the WMCA Board’s last meeting, in a bid to reduce congestion and drive inclusive economic growth in the area.
Laura Shoaf, Managing Director of TfWM, said: “These two Sprint bus services are our top priority because they will be an essential transport connection for the 2022 Commonwealth Games.
“Sprint will be extremely reliable, so passengers can be sure when their bus will depart and arrive at its destination.
“Currently there are wide variations in journey times, which puts many people off catching the bus.”
Cllr Ian Ward, Leader of Birmingham City Council and WMCA Portfolio Holder for Transport, said: “The future of transport in the West Midlands is about the movement of people rather than cars.
“We need to encourage more residents, business owners and visitors to choose public transport as an alternative to the car.
“With its dedicated bus lanes, Sprint will avoid traffic congestion and help to improve the quality of the air we breathe by reducing air pollution on the region’s roads.”
Additional schemes and the enhanced partnership are to be drafted with operators by the end of September, and then put to public consultation later this year.
TfWM has also confirmed it will deliver the three priority Sprint routes in two phases.
The A34 Sprint route from Birmingham City Centre will now be introduced to a proposed Park & Ride site at Junction 7 of the M6 by the end of 2021.
On the A45 Sprint route, planners will deliver the section from Birmingham City Centre to Birmingham Airport in phase one by the end of 2021 and undertake further assessment of the extension to Solihull Town Centre
It had already been confirmed that the Sprint route from Birmingham to Sutton Coldfield would be delivered in two phases, with the section from Birmingham City Centre to the Tyburn Road junction with Chester Road to be delivered by the end of 2021 and the remaining section to be delivered by 2026.