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Walsall Sprint bus plans set to move to the next stage

By Richard Guttridge | Walsall | Transport | Published:

Transport bosses are to step up their plans to bring Sprint buses to the Black Country.

An artist's impression of a Sprint bus. Picture: West Midlands Combined Authority

Transport for West Midlands (TfWM) said it would be focusing on construction and bringing the new bendy buses into operation between Walsall and Birmingham if, as expected, the scheme gets the green light from Walsall Council this month.

The Sprint buses, which will be of similar design to trams and stop less often than normal buses, will run along the A34 between Walsall and Birmingham, through Great Barr.

Their introduction has been brought forward to be ready for the Commonwealth Games, as has the extension of the Midland Metro to Dudley.

Walsall Council chiefs have indicated they will sign off on the scheme later this month.

A Transport for West Midlands spokesman said: “We have accelerated plans for the two routes on the A34 and A45 to be ready by the Commonwealth Games and these detailed schemes are now being confirmed with our partner local authorities; Birmingham, Solihull and Walsall.

“At the same time TfWM is working with our partners, including local authorities, Birmingham 2022, bus operators and building contractors on setting out the schedule for the construction and delivery phases of Sprint.”

The introduction of Sprint buses to Walsall roads has proved controversial. TfWM has faced opposition from residents due to fears over the impact on parking and businesses.

Mayor Andy Street, who heads TfWM, says the buses form a “vital part” of plans to improve transport across the region.

The A34 Sprint route, from Birmingham’s Moor Street train station to Walsall town centre, is 14.5km in length and will feature 20 stops.

The Sprint buses will use bus lanes and stop less often than traditional buses – cutting journey times down from 85 minutes to 38 at peak, experts say.

Richard Guttridge

By Richard Guttridge
Investigations Editor - @RichG_star

Investigations Editor for the Express & Star.

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