National Express West Midlands has announced its intention to run new rapid transit bus services along the A34 and A45 Sprint route between Walsall, Birmingham, and Solihull.
The new services will launch in May 2022 with a fleet of zero-emission double-decker Platinum buses, which will be able to beat traffic jams, and offer reliable journey times, by using dedicated bus lanes and priority measures at junctions along the routes. The launch will provide routes that cross Birmingham and join Walsall and Solihull for the first time.
This new fleet will include 20 environmentally friendly hydrogen-fuelled buses funded by Birmingham City Council.
Mayor of the West Midlands Andy Street said: “Freed from traffic jams and congestion, Sprint will offer new and existing bus users faster, more reliable, and uninterrupted services, as well as a more comfortable journey.
“Our plans for Sprint demonstrate our commitment to investing in and supporting improvements in both bus infrastructure and services for passengers, as well as tackling the climate emergency we are facing.”
The first services will be operational by May 2022 and will call at key destinations, including the NEC, Jaguar Land Rover Solihull, and Alexander Stadium. The bus company is also working with Transport for West Midlands (TfWM), as the transport authority, to confirm plans to introduce the first of a different fleet of high-quality zero-emission, low floor tram-style vehicles on the route during 2023.
The Sprint corridor is set to be covered by an enhanced partnership scheme that sets minimum standards for all bus services operating along the route with facilities such as hearing loops, wheelchair spaces, USB charging, and free wifi access. Construction of the new bus lanes, junction upgrades, and 75 high-quality shelters will take place in stages.
Chris Gibbens, commercial director at National Express West Midlands, said: “We are looking forward to having priority for buses along these Sprint routes. The highway changes and junction upgrades will give better journeys to over 300,000 bus passengers a week on popular and essential services like our Walsall-to-Birmingham routes.
“This will enable us to invest in the new buses using new technology to improve air quality, improve the environment, and create the best customer experience possible.”
Written by: Aaron