FAQ's

General Sprint

Sprint is a Bus Rapid Transit (BRT) system offering more reliable journey times and comfort levels based on those of a tram while benefitting from lower costs associated with bus technology.

Like all the world’s great cities and regions, the West Midlands is building an integrated rail, bus and rapid transit system.  Alongside new rail stations and tram extensions, much of this new system will be Sprint Bus Rapid Transit, the right form of rapid transit for the passenger flows on our major high volume corridors.

Sprint will provide dependable journeys and will provide a better passenger environment for our customers, delivered as part of an integrated transport system.

Sprint will offer improved access to jobs and growth opportunities including those provided by HS2, Birmingham’s Big City Plan, and other major employers in our region such as Jaguar Land Rover.

The vehicles used on Sprint will deliver a similar level of customer experience to that provided on a tram. Sprint will offer great passenger comfort with airy interiors, plenty of legroom, air conditioning with Wi-Fi, audio visual announcements and on-board next stop information.

Wait times at stops will be reduced by the provision of advance fare-paying and multiple-door boarding while investment in the highway infrastructure and giving Sprint traffic priority will contribute significantly to journey time reliability.

Over 300 stops will be provided for the full network. Some stops will be in existing bus stop locations and some will be new. Customers will benefit from improved shelters with pre-payment facilities, CCTV and wayfinding information.

We are prioritising three routes which will be delivered by 2022, in time for the Commonwealth Games.

These are:

  • Birmingham to Birmingham Airport and Solihull (A45)
  • Birmingham to Walsall (A34)
  • Birmingham to Sutton Coldfield via Langley  

A further four routes have been identified as Sprint corridors to be delivered by 2026 as part of the HS2 connectivity package, ensuring access to key high speed rail interchanges at HS2 Curzon Street, and Birmingham Interchange. 

These are:

  • Birmingham to Dudley via Bearwood
  • Birmingham to Halesowen via Bearwood
  • Birmingham to Northfield and Longbridge
  • Birmingham Interchange to Hall Green via Solihull

Sprint schemes are funded through a variety of sources, including the WMCA Investment Fund, (through the HS2 connectivity package), the Greater Birmingham and Solihull Local Enterprise Partnership, and the Local Growth Fund. Routes will provide connections to opportunities that drive economic growth for the region.

Sprint will integrate with other public passenger services and facilitate ongoing journey requirements.

There will be improved access to jobs and growth opportunities including those provided by HS2, Birmingham’s Big City Plan, and other major employers in our region such as Jaguar Land Rover.

The Sprint network will use a combination of existing designated bus lanes, newly-created bus lanes and will also have priority through areas of congestion.

We have included any changes to the position of bus stops within the consultation designs, but these are subject to review following feedback. There will be a more detailed localised consultation on the specifics around the shelters and stops in 2019.

The pricing structure has yet to be agreed. It will form part of the negotiations with prospective operating companies in advance of service starting in 2022.

We aim to provide an integrated solution for all passengers. We have assessed each location on its individual merits to ensure other modes are considered and that, where possible, future cycle routes are not precluded. The West Midlands Combined Authority is also seeking funding for future cycling enhancements on these routes.

We are consulting on whether there is demand to allow bicycles on vehicles, and this is included as a question in the survey.

The main benefits are:

  • Dependable journey times
  • Pre-payment for faster boarding
  • Enhanced stops with ticket machines, security cameras, improved lighting, emergency help points and platforms that offer near-level boarding
  • Real-time departure information, along with enhanced maps and signage
  • High quality vehicles with wider aisles and multiple doors

We are exploring Park & Ride options for all three priority routes.

Advanced construction works will start in 2019 with main construction running from spring 2020 to late 2021.

Three Sprint services will be operational in time for the Commonwealth Games in July 2022. The remainder will be operational in 2026.

In order to provide appropriate levels of priority for public transport, we anticipate that there will need to be changes to on-street parking in some areas but we are committed to minimising the impact to local residents and businesses by providing alternatives where possible.

Sprint should be a service accessible for all, and design will take into account the needs of all users. We will work with focus groups as we take forward the design of infrastructure and vehicles to ensure that Sprint supports the needs of wheelchair users.

Sprint should be a service accessible for all, and design will take into account the needs of all users. We will work with focus groups as we take forward the design of infrastructure and vehicles, to ensure that Sprint supports the needs of those with pushchairs and prams.

In the majority of locations we expect that Sprint lanes can be used by buses, cyclists, motorbikes, and taxis (not private hire). Hours of operation have been tailored to the requirements of individual locations. Please refer to the designs for specific details.

Sprint routes are linked to sites where future growth is expected (such as Langley, Perry Barr, and Birmingham Airport) and has been informed by local transport plans across the region. Post-2026 there is also opportunity to extend the Sprint routes to other new developments if required. 

A Sprint BRT route can be provided for less than 25% of the capital cost of light rail. It can also be delivered in less time using existing highway infrastructure and offers flexibility by being able to cater for new developments as they are built.

There are some locations where trees will need to be removed to allow for additional bus priority. Where this cannot be avoided, Sprint will follow the local authority’s tree replacement policy. In most cases this means two trees will be planted for every tree lost.

Sprint will be delivered with low emission clean vehicles, and will provide an alternative for car travel as part of an integrated transport system.    

Public input is vital to making decisions that are in the best overall interest of the community. If you would like to comment on the scheme, please complete the questionnaire that can be found here.

The consultation will be open until the 28th of September 2018 and we welcome your views.

The Sprint Team will be running some consultation sessions in the areas where the first three routes are due to operate during September: The Sprint Team will also be available to answer queries about the Hagley Road Advanced Works at the event in Birmingham City Centre on Saturday 22nd September. 

Full details of the dates, times and venues of the events can be found here.

You can still get involved by visiting our website and completing an online questionnaire.

Alternatively, please email us with any questions or concerns at sprintconsult@tfwm.org.uk or call our helpline number on 0121 214 7321.

We don’t expect the construction of the cycle parking to have any impact as this will be completed in 2018 and work is not due to start on the Sprint routes until 2020.

The Sprint Operator has yet to be agreed and will be announced in due course.

We have hand delivered letters to those people and businesses that are directly impacted by the proposals. If you have not received one of these letters then we do not need your land.

We will always discuss and negotiate with landowners in the first instance if we need to acquire land. If we cannot reach a mutual agreement on a purchase, we may then seek to obtain the land via compulsory purchase. Sprint may also follow up mutually agreed land purchases with Compulsory Purchase Order as this will ensure that any discrepancies between land registry boundaries and actual boundaries are covered.

The total Sprint network is estimated to cost £280m to deliver. The first three priority schemes are estimated to cost a combined £110m.

While the Sprint routes have been determined, the specific interventions, stops and shelters have not. These are the aspects that we are keen to seek the views of the public on. We want to make sure that we incorporate these suggestions wherever it is feasible to do so.

Conventional bus services will be able to use the bus lanes introduced, therefore bus services that use all/part of the route will benefit from improved reliability. We will be working with local bus operators to ensure that their services are integrated with Sprint to get the best value from the investment.

As with all WMCA activities we must ensure that we comply with procurement legislation and the WMCA constitution. This will ensure that we focus on delivering best practice, collaborative and agile procurement services. For the vast majority of work needed for the Sprint development we will advertise work on the UK Government Contracts Finder website, we may supplement this by invites to tender and/or other advertising.

Traffic Regulation Orders and bus shelter consultation will be subject to the standard process.

Walsall to Birmingham City Centre (A34)

There are proposed to be approximately 20 stops in each direction of the route: Birmingham Moor Street, Aston University, Lower Tower Street, Newtown, Aston Six Ways*, Heathfield Road, Perry Barr, Glendower Road, Alexander Stadium, Tower Hill, Booths Farm Road, Scott Arms, Cross Lane, Chapel Lane, The Bell, Queens Road, Broadway, Walsall Six Ways, Upper Bridge Street, and Walsall town centre. Please refer to the plans for individual locations.

*To be included as part of the public consultation.

We expect all bus stops on the route to continue to be served by bus services.

The following measures have been identified:

  • Carriageway widening to provide additional lanes/lane width
  • Changing general traffic lanes to bus lanes
  • Restrictions on parking (on-street) and loading;
  • Improvements to junctions including at-grade (existing street level) infrastructure changes, and priority for Sprint at traffic signals;
  • New or extended sections of bus lane (for use by Sprint and conventional buses);
  • New laybys to allow Sprint vehicles to easily overtake conventional buses;
  • Closure of some side-road junctions and/or restriction of turning movements.

Please refer to the plans for detail at specific locations. There are no instances where building demolition is required

There are changes to parking and loading restrictions on several sections of the route. Please refer to the plans to see how different locations are affected. Changes to both parking and loading extents will be subject to a further consultation exercise as required and as part of the Traffic Regulation Orders (TRO) process.

There is limited use of the central reserve for bus lane. Please refer to plans A34 -10 and A34-11, which show where the central reserve will be used either side of the Scott Arms junction.

Sprint will get priority at the majority of traffic lights on the route. The exact locations are yet to be confirmed.

We are considering locations along the route for a suitable Park & Ride site.

Sprint will offer a more frequent service than the train. It will also stop at other key locations for jobs and entertainment (such as Scott Arms, Alexander Stadium, Aston University, and HS2 in 2026). The route will also provide a direct connection to Birmingham Airport and Solihull.

It is envisaged that this will be approximately 40 minutes, or less.

The estimated cost of the Sprint scheme is in the order of £33 million.

The proposed frequency of the service is likely to be every 10 minutes.

Sprint is proposed for operation in 2022 and in advance of the Commonwealth Games.

No major highway improvements are proposed at these two junctions, other than extensions to existing bus lanes on the approach to M6 Jct 7 in both directions and towards the Scott Arms junction in the southbound direction.

The decision has not yet been finalised (at time of writing). The Perry Barr highway improvement scheme falls under Birmingham City Council’s remit, and is therefore not something we are able to decide or comment on.

Locations where bus lanes are proposed to be introduced are shown on the consultation plans. Access to existing property driveways/frontages for parking will remain. However, we can assure residents that a road safety audit will be undertaken as part of the design process and look to assess and mitigate risks wherever possible.

The proposed frequency of the service is likely to be every 10 minutes. 

  • How long will it take to travel from Birmingham to Walsall using Sprint?
  • It is envisaged that this will be approximately 40 minutes or less. 
  • How long will it take to travel from Scott Arms to Walsall using Sprint?
  • It is envisaged that this will be approximately 18 minutes or less. 
  • How long will it take to travel from Perry Barr to Birmingham using Sprint?
  • It is envisaged that this will be approximately 15 minutes or less. 
  • How long will it take to travel from Scott Arms to Birmingham using Sprint?
  • It is envisaged that this will be approximately 20 minutes or less. 

We expect the existing bus services to remain and benefit from improved journey reliability times due to the Sprint improvements.

Park & Ride provision is being considered where appropriate along the A34 corridor.

There is to be no reduction in existing bus stops as part of the Sprint proposals on the A34 corridor.

Walsall MBC are in receipt of a planning application for this development and the application is due to be determined.

Birmingham Airport and Solihull to Birmingham City Centre (A45)

There are proposed to be approximately 20 stops in each direction of the route:

Birmingham to Solihull: Birmingham Moor Street, Smithfield – Markets, Digbeth Coach Station, Custard Factory, Small Heath Station, Hay Mills, Holder Road, Yardley Swan, Sunnymead Road, Brays Road, Lyndon Road, Sheldon Wheatsheaf, Old Lode Lane, Hobs Moat, Castle Lane, JLR, Henley Crescent, Lode Heath School, Solihull Hospital, Solihull Town Centre, Solihull Station.

Birmingham to Birmingham Airport: Birmingham Moor Street, Smithfield – Markets, Digbeth Coach Station, Custard Factory, Small Heath Station, Hay Mills, Holder Road, Yardley Swan, Sunnymead Road, Brays Road, Lyndon Road, Sheldon Wheatsheaf, Coalway Avenue, Arden Oak, Hatchford Way, Cargo Terminal, Birmingham Airport.

Please refer to the plans for individual locations.

We expect all bus stops on the route to continue to be served by bus services.

The following measures have been identified:

  • Carriageway widening to provide additional lanes/lane width
  • Changing general traffic lanes to bus lanes
  • Restrictions on parking (on-street) and loading;
  • Improvements to junctions including at-grade (existing street level) infrastructure changes, and priority for Sprint at traffic signals;
  • New or extended sections of bus lane (usable by Sprint and conventional buses);
  • New laybys to allow Sprint vehicles to easily overtake conventional buses;
  • Closure of some side-road junctions and/or restriction of turning movements.

Please refer to the plans for detail at specific locations. There are no instances where building demolition is required.

There are changes to parking and loading restrictions on several sections of the route. Please refer to the plans to see how different locations are affected.

There are several sections of the route where the central reserve will be converted to bus lane. This includes sections of the A45 Small Heath Highway between the Bordesley Circus and Heybarnes Circus. Please refer to the plans for further detail.

Sprint will get priority at some traffic lights on the route. The exact locations are yet to be confirmed.

We are considering a range of locations along the route for a suitable Park & Ride site.

Sprint serves different communities and provides key links to businesses, public services, jobs and entertainment (such as Swan Island, JLR, Digbeth and the Wheatsheaf). We are also considering linking the A45 Sprint and A34 Sprint routes to provide a direct connection to Perry Barr and Walsall.

We will be working with bus operators to plan bus services to co-ordinate with Sprint, this will be subject to further consultation.

We will be working with bus operators to plan bus services to co-ordinate with Sprint, which will be subject to further consultation.

There will not be a Solihull Town Centre to Airport Sprint service in 2022, but the network includes the Hall Green to Solihull and Airport route due to be delivered in 2026.

Sutton Coldfield to Birmingham City Centre via Langley (SBL)

There will be 29 stops on the route: Birmingham Moor Street, Aston University, Staniforth Street, Aston Cross, Waterlinks Boulevard, Aston Station, Cuckoo Road, Gravelly Industrial Park, Wheelwright Road, Bromford Lane, Holly Lane, Tyburn, Egerton Road, Bagot Arms, Pype Hayes Park, Eachelhurst Road, South Walmley, Walmley Ash School, Langley x 4, Churchill Road, Falcon Lodge, Rectory Road, Whitehouse Common, Good Hope Hospital, Coleshill Street, Sutton Coldfield.

 A review of bus stops will be undertaken as part of the next stage of design.

The following measures have been identified:

  • Carriageway widening to provide additional lanes/lane width
  • Changing general traffic lanes to bus lanes
  • Restrictions on parking (on-street) and loading;
  • Improvements to junctions including at-grade (existing street level) infrastructure changes, and priority for Sprint at traffic signals;
  • New or extended sections of bus lane (usable by Sprint and conventional buses);
  • New laybys to allow Sprint vehicles to easily overtake conventional buses;
  • Closure of some side-road junctions and/or restriction of turning movements.

Please refer to the plans for detail at specific locations. There are no instances where building demolition is required

There are changes to parking and loading restrictions on some sections of the route. Please refer to the plans to see how different locations are affected.

There are sections on the Tyburn Road where converting the central reserve to a Sprint/bus lane is being considered. Please refer to the plans for details.

Sprint will get priority at the majority of traffic lights on the route. The exact locations are yet to be confirmed.

We are considering a range of locations along the route for a suitable Park & Ride site.

This section of the route will also serve Good Hope Hospital and Falcon Lodge. Please refer to the designs for the specific plans proposed between Langley and Sutton Coldfield.

Sprint will help achieve the objectives of the Supplementary Planning Document for the Langley Sustainable Urban Extension by promoting sustainable travel and public transport in the area.

Hagley Road Advanced Works (A456)

The works consist of highway improvements in and around the future Edgbaston Metro Terminus. Works include: 

  • Realignment of the central reserve inbound to create a consistent two lanes from Wyndham Road to Five Ways removing diverge and merge points before and after the junction with Plough and Harrow Road;
  • Provision of an additional outbound bus lanes from after 5 Ways to Vicarage Road.
  • Changes to the Monument Road junction so inbound traffic on the Hagley Road can turn right into Chad Road.
  • Changes to Plough and Harrow junction to prevent the movement between Plough and Harrow Road and Highfield Road;
  • Closure of a U-turn facilities on Hagley Road

Changes are designed to improve traffic flow in the area and facilitate the introduction of bus lanes.

Please refer to the plans for detail at specific locations. There are no instances where building demolition is required.

There are not expected to be any changes to the stops served by existing bus services.

There are changes to parking and loading restrictions on some sections of the route. Please refer to the plans to see how different locations are affected.

The changes have been assessed using traffic models and this has influenced the proposed design.

Cyclists will be able to use the new bus lanes.

We will be assessing the air quality impacts of the changes which we expect to be positive.

Like in all the world's great cities, Transport for West Midlands (TfWM) wants to create a fully integrated rail, bus and rapid transit network for the region. This will play a really important role in making sure that the West Midlands takes full advantage of the economic opportunities that HS2 brings. Sprint is a type of rapid transit system. It is a limited stop service with dedicated bus lanes and and priority through areas of congestion, making journey times more dependable for passengers. Advanced works for Hagley Road will deliver bus priority and road layout changes coordinated with West Midlands Metro Edgbaston Tram Extension ahead of a Sprint route being delivered on Hagley Road.

The A456 Hagley Road advanced works scheme is fully funded by the Greater Birmingham and Solihull Local Enterprise Partnership and West Midlands Combined Authority.

Utility works begin January 2019 with construction works scheduled mid-2019 to mid-2020.