Priority lane: Clean air jam buster buses plan as CAZ date looms - The Solihull Observer
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17th Aug, 2022

Priority lane: Clean air jam buster buses plan as CAZ date looms

Ross Crawford 30th Jan, 2021

A NEW new zero-emission rapid transit bus service along the A34 and A45 between Solihull and Birmingham is set to start operating from May 2022.

The new service will be via a fleet of zero-emission double decker buses from National Express using dedicated bus lanes and priority measures at junctions to beat traffic jams.

The news comes as Birmingham gets ready to implement its Clean Air Zone (CAZ) which will see drivers of certain types of polluting vehicles facing charges to drive into the city centre.

German firm Siemens has already installed 67 automatic numberplate recognition cameras (ANPR) on the edge of the CAZ.

These will register every vehicle entering the zone to identify which are exempt from charges and which will be billed.

The new buses, which will continue from Birmingham on to Walsall, will include 20 environmentally friendly hydrogen-fuelled buses funded by Birmingham City Council.

National Express is also working with Transport for West Midlands (TfWM) to confirm plans to introduce a further fleet of zero emission, low floor tram-style vehicles on the route during 2023.

Such tram-style buses have proved popular on similar rapid transit services across Europe and the UK.

The uninterrupted services will run from Walsall to Solihull, via Birmingham city centre.

First services will be operational by May 2022 and call at key destinations including the NEC, Jaguar Land Rover Solihull and Alexander Stadium.

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

The Sprint corridor is set to be 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: “The humble bus is the most used form of public transport in the West Midlands and our plans for Sprint demonstrate our commitment to investing in and supporting improvements in both bus infrastructure and services for passengers, as well as tackling the climate emergency we are facing.”

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