BUS PASSENGERS are getting to their destination quicker following the introduction of Sprint bus priority lanes say Transport for West Midlands (TfWM).
The transport body said it compared 12,000 journey times along the A45 between Sheldon and Birmingham city centre and on the A34 between Walsall and the city centre in September to those during the same month in 2019 and found services are on average 22 per cent quicker.
Sprint bus lanes and priority junctions were put into place as journey times for buses stuck in regular traffic had fluctuated by more than 20 minutes on both the A34 and A45.
It was developed by TfWM, part of the West Midlands Combined Authority (WMCA), and phase one was completed in May to allow shuttle buses, operational for the Birmingham 2022 Commonwealth Games, to benefit from the bus priority measures and ensure regular road users were less impacted by the additional traffic.
Consultation over phase two, which includes further bus priority measures on the A34 in Walsall and Sandwell and A45 in Solihull, as well as some smaller additional works in Birmingham, is due to take place once designs are completed. Construction is due to follow next year.
Phase two is being part-funded with a £56million contribution from the City Region Sustainable Transport Settlement (CRSTS) awarded to the WMCA by the Department for Transport earlier this year.
A cross-city route linking Walsall and Solihull with uninterrupted bus services will also start next year.
This is due to be followed in 2024 with the introduction of 24 articulated hydrogen buses on the route.
West Midlands Mayor, Andy Street, said: “I’m so pleased that we can now see that we have delivered in terms of both quicker and more reliable bus journeys for local residents.
“Despite only recently completing Phase One, the data shows that we’re already making a difference on the ground – saving people valuable time on their commute.
“So with further time saving measures on the way via Phase Two, with the introduction of hydrogen buses along the route, we’re confident Sprint customers will enjoy an even better experience in the near future.
“Sprint and other measures – such as the three year bus fare freeze announced last month – all form part of our plans to grow our bus network over the coming years by making bus usage a more attractive, affordable and convenient alternative to a daily commute in the car.”