In December 2018 Transport for West Midlands published the findings of the public consultation on the proposed Sprint routes.
The consultation highlighted the concerns of residents and businesses along the proposed routes. Work then commenced to further develop the schemes in a way that was able to manage, and where possible, mitigate the issues raised.
In March 2019 a further update was published which provided details of the options being explored to address the issues raised in the consultation. This information provided the basis upon which the detailed design work is currently being progressed.
The detailed design stage will help determine the final option that is chosen for each route.
In the meantime and following discussions with our partners we have now decided to deliver the three priority Sprint routes in two phases.
We had already made a decision that the Sprint route from Birmingham to Sutton Coldfield would be delivered in two phases with the section from Birmingham City Centre to the Tyburn Road junction with the Chester Road delivered by the end of 2021 and the remaining section to be delivered by 2026.
We will now deliver the A34 Sprint route from Birmingham City Centre to a proposed Park & Ride site at Junction 7 of the M6 by the end of 2021. This will provide more time to explore the detailed design options of the Walsall section and ensure the maximum benefits can be achieved on this popular corridor for bus travellers.
On the A45 Sprint route we will deliver the section from Birmingham City Centre to Birmingham Airport in phase one by the end of 2021 and undertake further assessment of the extension to Solihull Town Centre.
Cllr Adrian Andrew, deputy leader of Walsall Council, said: “It is important we get the detail and design right and that is why we are taking more time over this section of the route in Walsall.
“This means that when we come to deliver Sprint here we can build the route fully confident it will work for the people and businesses of Walsall.”
Cllr Waseem Zaffar, cabinet member for transport with Birmingham City Council, said: “We remain on track to deliver Sprint on the A45 and A34 in Birmingham by the end of 2021.
“It is a key part of our plan for public transport to offer people a comfortable, convenient and most of all reliable alternative to the cars and congestion which currently choke our roads.”
Cllr Ted Richards, cabinet member for growth and infrastructure delivery with Solihull Council, said: “Sprint has some potential to change the way people travel in Solihull.
“The pause is welcome because it ensures Sprint is delivered in the right way, not rushed, and works for the borough.”
Laura Shoaf, managing director of TfWM, said: “Sprint is a vital part of our plans to develop high quality and integrated public transport services for the West Midlands – it has the potential to reduce congestion and the pollution in the air we breathe while better linking people to job and leisure opportunities across the region.
“We have taken this decision to deliver in phases to ensure we get the service right.”
Discussions with bus companies about operating Sprint services are continuing and we are exploring new ways of delivering the service through partnership working to help ensure high quality and reliable services are maintained for passengers.