Use public transport to enjoy busy festive weekend in Birmingham city centre

Visitors to Birmingham city centre for this weekend are being urged to plan ahead and use public transport wherever possible for their journeys.


Last Saturday there were long delays for car drivers, with car parks full by lunchtime and long queues.


The traffic congestion is a result of Birmingham’s success in attracting many thousands of visitors to events like the Frankfurt Christmas Market and Christmas shopping attractions like the Bullring and Grand Central shopping centres.

There is also a reduced Saturday service on West Midlands Railway and London Northwestern Railway trains as a result of ongoing industrial action.

But many trains are running, including all regular services provided by other operators, and there is extra capacity on bus and Metro tram services.

So Transport for West Midlands (TfWM), which is part of the West Midlands Combined Authority, and Birmingham City Council are issuing the following advice to those coming to the city centre.

  • Plan ahead and leave more time for journeys, do not aim for the last train home
  • Stick to public transport. Other train companies are running regular services, National Express bus routes have extra capacity and there are 500 free park and ride spaces at Metro stops. There are good off-peak and group ticket deals available. Avoid driving, you may get stuck in congestion 
  • If you are travelling into Birmingham city centre for shopping or the Christmas markets come in earlier when shops first open and leave before it gets busy.
  • Or travel later, shops in the Bullring are open until 10pm on Black Friday or 8pm on Saturday.
  • Car parks are generally full by 11.30am and sometimes earlier at this time of year
  • If you have to drive, park further out and walk in. A slightly longer walk means you will be able to leave the city quicker
  • Birmingham City are playing at home, if you are travelling to St Andrews to watch the match please leave more time for your journey.

Laura Shoaf, managing director, TfWM, said: “Birmingham has been a huge success attracting thousands of visitors for its famous Christmas shopping experience but as a result we have seen increased traffic congestion in recent weekends.

“We want people to enjoy Christmas in Birmingham, but please note that when visiting the city centre, there are a range of public transport options such as Metro, rail and bus services as well as many hundreds of free park and ride spaces at railway stations and Metro stops.

“Public transport really is the least stressful way to visit the city centre this weekend.”

Phil Edwards, assistant director for transport and connectivity at Birmingham City Council, said: “We are working with TfWM to help meet the challenge of busy times, and keep the city and wider region moving over the coming weeks.

“Over this weekend, thousands of visitors are expected to make their way into Birmingham to enjoy all the city’s shops, festive events and hospitality, so we are asking people to plan ahead and allow more time for their journeys – and to use public transport where possible.”

 For live travel updates and information visit the West Midlands Network website.