For those of you new or unfamiliar with Birmingham and the surrounding area, the region has a very good transportation network, with by and large good facilities, services, and operators.
There is a wide ranging and efficient bus network with several operators all linking up, with the main provider being Travel West Midlands. On this site you can get all the information on routes and prices as well as all the various ticket options (Day savers etc) that are available. They also have details of the Midland Metro light rail service, the first stage of a new modern “tram” system. This first stage operates between Birmingham and Wolverhampton.
For coach travel to and from all parts of the country, try the web site. The main Birmingham coach terminal is at Digbeth, close to the City centre. The biggest problem here is that car parking is vitually non existant, so seeing people off or picking them up can present difficulties.
To get an intergrated view of much of the central regions transport try the CENTRO web site which also includes a guide for those with mobility problems as well as extensive details of routes and timetables. You can also use the very good journey planner to see what options you have in terms of times, routes and types of public transport for your particular journey.
For rail users Birmingham has 3 central train stations, New Street, Snow Hill, and Moor Street, the main one being New Street. It also has quite a number of local stations on the routes into these. Probably one of the best ways to check all the rail option as well as book your ticket online if you find what you want is to visit website. Birmingham International is one of the “local” stations, but was built specifically to serve the excellent National Exhibition Centre, and the very modern and expanding Birmingham International Airport. In the past it is probably fair to say that this was not as good as a City such as Birmingham needed and deserved, but after several years of continual growth, expansion, and modernisation, it is now a first class major international airport with scheduled flights all over the World, as well as numerous charter flights. It is at the moment in the middle of still further developement to improve the already excellent facilities. If you need airport parking it is well worth checking out for an easy and efficient car park online pre booking service that in our experience usually offers very good value.
The roads system in and around Birmingham is like that of any large modern city, it has it’s good and its bad points. Probably its two most famous features are “Spaghetti Junction” (the large, but easily navigated motorway and main road intersection) and the M6 motorway, or rather the congestion that is all too common on it. In actual fact Birmingham has a good network of motorways for both getting around the City and for reaching all the other parts of the country, benefiting from its central location, while the new Northern Relief Road should in time ease the usual M6 problems. A good way of avoiding any potential problems on your journey is to check one of the sites giving local traffic information.
An excellent site for finding traffic information is the R.A.C. site. Here, not only can you get up to date traffic information, but also amongst other free services available is an on line route planner. This will plan your route right from local journeys at post code level, through to European journeys, displaying the results in both a clear text list and a scrollable map. It also shows any traffic problems and where they occur on the route, and will even e-mail you a copy at a specific time / date that you can specify to notify you of the most up to date traffic information before you set out. It takes a minute or two but can save you hours and is good fun.