MAJOR changes to Birmingham city centre bus routes have been unveiled for passengers.
Buses move out of Corporation Street on July 22 as part of the transformation of the city centre and its transport system.
Corporation Street is being pedestrianised and its ten bus stops relocated to new points, each no more than a five-minute walk away.
The changes will also pave the way for a new Metro stop as part of the tram system’s extension into the central area in 2015.
Centro, the region’s transport authority, in partnership with Birmingham City Council and bus operator National Express West Midlands, will unveil the detailed plans as part of a comprehensive passenger information campaign.
All of the city centre bus stops will be located at six new passenger interchanges.
These will be at Snow Hill/Colmore Row; Paradise Circus/Broad Street; New Street Gateway; Markets; Moor Street/Carrs Lane and Bull Street/Priory Queensway
They will have high quality shelters and travel information, including maps and clear directions, on how to get to the other interchanges and to key locations around the city.
Similar bus routes are being grouped together at the six interchanges to streamline services and reduce traffic congestion in the city centre.
During the coming months every bus stop pole and shelter in the city centre will also be replaced by a sleek new design complementing the forthcoming tram stops and on-street information points. Centro’s passenger services director Stephen Rhodes said: “We appreciate these changes mean moving the bus stops from Corporation Street, but we will do everything we can to minimise disruption for passengers and for retailers and shoppers during the building of the tram extension itself.
“Not only will the work give Corporation Street a more attractive, boulevard-style atmosphere, but it will improve the flow of buses around the city centre, giving passengers better reliability.”
Fourteen public exhibitions giving full details of the bus service improvements will be held around the city centre until July 29. The first of these, aboard the Centro exhibition bus, takes place between 9.30am and 3pm tomorrow by the markets in Edgbaston Street.
Dozens of marshals will also be at bus stops between July 15 and July 29 to provide passengers with information and directions, while information posters will go up at stops throughout the city centre and on buses.
Coun Tahir Ali, cabinet member for development, jobs and skills, said: “We believe the pedestrianisation and reorganisation of bus services, together with the Metro extension, a rebuilt New Street Station and a new John Lewis store can help underpin economic growth and job creation.”
Peter Coates, managing director of National Express West Midlands, said: “We are putting hundreds of extra staff into the city centre during the period of change to help passengers find their new stops and services.”
The changes have also been welcomed by city centre shopping bosses. Jonathan Cheetham, chairman of Retail Birmigham, said they were working closely with the city council and Centro on the transport changes.
He said: “The Midland Metro extension will not only deliver more visitors into the heart of the retail area, with stops on Bull Street, Corporation Street and Stephenson Street, but also include significant public realm improvements to create a truly world-class walking and shopping experience through our city centre.”
►Full details on the new bus stop locations, as well as the forthcoming exhibitions, can be found at www.networkwestmidlands.com