Public transport included in Commonwealth Games tickets

Commonwealth Games spectators are set to get travel on public transport in the West Midlands included in the price of their tickets.

New images of the revamped Alexander Stadium
New images of the revamped Alexander Stadium

The West Midlands Combined Authority’s board has agreed the draft Commonwealth Games Transport Plan – which states more than one million spectators are expected to attend the event.

The plan is intended to “keep the region moving” during the event, which is due to run from July 28 to August 8 next year.

The plan states: “To reduce the reliance on car travel, minimise congestion and to keep the region moving, all venues will be accessible by public transport and spectators will have access to public transport included within their Games’ ticket on the day of their event.”

It also states park and ride measures will be put in place along with city centre bus shuttles “and a dedicated accessible bus system to accommodate the increased demand”.

The plan states detailed arrangements for each venue will be drawn up – including measures such as controlled parking zones near key sites such as Birmingham's Alexander Stadium and Sandwell Aquatics Centre in Smethwick.

There are plans for highlighted “green routes”, including along the A34 and A38 - segregated cycle routes to encourage walking and cycling to key venues.

The plan adds: “Blue badge parking will be available at all venues. Accessible shuttle services and other transport services such as ride share, taxis and ring and ride will support spectators' varying travel needs.”

It states a Games Route Network will be put in place linking venues, accommodation for athletes and other official locations between July 22 and August 10.

Existing roads which make up the network will “remain open to general traffic although there may be some restrictions close to venues” or other measures such as kerbside restrictions and banned turns.

Handling of the transport network will be carried out by Transport for West Midlands’ Regional Transport Coordination Centre (RTCC), which will use CCTV to check for bottlenecks and take action such as re-phasing traffic lights.

Approval of the draft plan means there will be a three-month consultation, including with the public, starting on June 28.

West Midlands Mayor Andy Street said: “When the Commonwealth Games starts next year we will have the eyes of the world on the West Midlands, and so it is mission critical that all our visitors can travel around swiftly and efficiently whilst minimising the impact on residents.

“That’s why I’m delighted that travel from within the region to Games’ venues will be included in people’s tickets, making it as easy as possible for visitors to travel by bus, train, tram, cycling, and walking.

“Not only that, but we’re also setting up additional Park and Ride facilities, laying on shuttle buses, and of course drawing up detailed local traffic and parking plans for each venue. This is on top of our new Sprint rapid bus service, which will be operational by then linking three key Games venues.

“With more than one million spectators expected over the eleven days, as well as competitors, volunteers, staff and the world’s media, we have to get our transport offering just right. We believe this plan does exactly that.”

Councillor Ian Ward, WMCA portfolio holder for transport and leader of Birmingham City Council added: “The easiest way to get around during the Birmingham Commonwealth Games will be by using public transport, cycling or walking – especially for the spectators, staff and volunteers.

“Building on the recent launch of Birmingham’s Clean Air Zone, this will help us reduce carbon emissions and air pollution around our venues – making Birmingham 2022 the cleanest and greenest Commonwealth Games ever.

“We will also see new transport infrastructure, such as our Sprint rapid bus route on the A34 and A45, leave a lasting legacy for the region.”

Ian Reid, CEO of Birmingham 2022, added: “Working as a partnership, we have the collective ambition that Birmingham 2022 will be the most sustainable Commonwealth Games to date.

“Fundamental to this is a well operated transport network that can effectively serve the different competition venues throughout the period of the Games.

“We know that TfWM, and the commitments and measures outlined in the Games Transport Plan, will keep the city and region moving, ensuring these Games can be accessed and enjoyed by all.”

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