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National Express to run zero-emission Sprint bus services

Transport for West Midlands Published: 27th Jan 2021

National Express West Midlands

National Express West Midlands will run the new rapid transit bus services along the A34 and A45 Sprint route between Walsall, Birmingham and Solihull.

The service 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 the dedicated bus lanes and priority at junctions along the route.

This will include 20 environmentally friendly hydrogen-fuelled buses funded by Birmingham City Council.

The bus company is also working with Transport for West Midlands (TfWM), part of the West Midlands Combined Authority (WMCA), to look at options for the introduction of high quality zero emission, low floor tram-style vehicles on the route during 2023.

Uninterrupted services will run from Walsall to Birmingham Airport and Solihull, via Birmingham city centre. This service will be operational in time for the 2022 Commonwealth Games and link key sporting venues at the NEC, Birmingham city centre and Alexander Stadium.

Construction of the new bus lanes, junction upgrades and installation of 75 high-quality shelters will take place in stages.

The Sprint corridor is covered by an enhanced partnership scheme which 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.

Mayor of the West Midlands Andy Street said: “Freed from traffic jams and congestion, Sprint will offer new and existing bus users a more reliable services and, thanks to our partnership with National Express, a high quality and comfortable journey.

“With Sprint people will be able to take uninterrupted journeys between Walsall and Birmingham Airport, or Alexander Stadium and Solihull for example.

“Buses are the most used form of public transport in the West Midlands and this investment demonstrates our commitment to investing in and supporting improvement both the bus infrastructure and services for passengers.”

Cllr Ian Ward, WMCA portfolio lead for transport and leader of Birmingham City Council, said: “This partnership is great news for our environment as we work to improve our air quality and lower our carbon emissions.

“These zero-emission buses, including the 20 hydrogen-fuelled vehicles funded by Birmingham City Council, will offer travellers on the A34 and A45 a comfortable and reliable alternative to the car for their journeys and contribute towards achieving our climate change targets.”

Chris Gibbens, commercial director at National Express West Midlands, said:

"Our customers always tell us the two issues that are most important to them are punctuality and reliability.

“So we are looking forward to having priority for buses along these Sprint routes. The highways changes and junction upgrades will give better journeys to over 300,000 bus passengers a week on popular and important services like our Walsall-to-Birmingham routes."

Issued by the WMCA Media Office: email: media@wmca.org.uk

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