New Sprint bus corridor set to open but only with current vehicles

The new Sprint bus corridor between Walsall and Birmingham will open before the Commonwealth Games, transport bosses have confirmed.

Sprint's distinctive rapid transit vehicles will not be on the road for the Commonwealth Games
Sprint's distinctive rapid transit vehicles will not be on the road for the Commonwealth Games

However, the hydrogen-powered, tram-style buses synonymous with the Sprint rapid transit system will not be ready for the summer, neither will the Great Barr park and ride scheme which could have taken spectators to the Alexander Stadium.

Passengers will be using current National Express West Midlands buses, which do not have the special features vehicles used on other Sprint systems in the world which are designed to ensure faster disembarking and journey times.

Transport for West Midlands is on the verge of naming the date when Sprint's dedicated bus lanes and infrastructure will be in use between Walsall and Birmingham.

A Transport for West Midlands spokesman told the Express & Star: "The first phase of the Sprint on the A34 and A45 in Birmingham is nearing completion.

"Detailed designs for phase 2, which includes further bus priority measures in Walsall and Solihull, are being finalised and will be issued for public engagement later this year."

The spokesman added: "With dedicated bus lanes and priority at junctions, Sprint is designed to offer passengers shorter journey times and greater reliability as the zero-emission buses bypass traffic jams. A Sprint bus priority network is a key part of the region’s long-term transport plan.”

New Sprint lanes and bus stops have been built between the Scott Arms, Great Barr, and Birchfield Road, Perry Barr, and there have been major alterations to road layouts in Walsall town centre.

Residents along the A34 Sprint route protested about the loss of parking spaces and the loss of trees.

£56 million has been signed off for phase 2 of Sprint, which will create a link between Walsall and Birmingham Airport through Great Barr and Birmingham city centre. More bus lanes will be created and new junctions created to increase the speed of the Sprint journey.

Phase 1 of the A34 Sprint cost £32.4 million, with £22.1 million from West Midlands Combined Authority funding and £10.3m from other central government contributions

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