Transportation in Birmingham is surprisingly strongly focused on buses. Even though Birmingham is the second biggest city in the United Kingdom, there is no metro. Yet, there are some train systems to be aware of. This guide will help you find your way through Birmingham.
Due to its location and importance for Great Britain, Birmingham is very well connected to most other parts of the country by train. Birmingham New Street Station not only comes with a fascinating architecture, but is also one of the most important stations in the whole country.
Nearly all trains from London to the North stop in Birmingham. There are several trains to London, Manchester, Bristol and other big cities in the United Kingdom per hour. In addition, there is a large regional and commuter train network, which allows easy connections in the metropolitan area. The backbone of the local service network are these four lines:
While there is no underground sytem in Birmingham, there is at least the so-called Midland Metro. First opened in 1999, the one existing line now connects Birming New Street via Birmingham Snow Hill with Wolverhampton via West Bromwich.
There are also a few different stops in Birmingham, making the Midland Metro interesting for visitors, too. In addition, an expansion from New Street to Edgbaston via Centenary Square and Brindleyplace is due to open in 2019. Another line of the Midland Metro is in the planing phase. Moreover, there is still discussion about opening a metro system, which might be interconnected with the Midland Metro.
Till today, more than 80 percent of all public transportation rides in the Birmingham metropolitan area are by bus. Thus, the buses are still the backbone of the transportation in the West Midlands. National Express is the main operator of all services in the area, but there are more than 40 other local and regional bus operators in the West Midlands.
Yet, most bus companies in the West Midlands share the same fare system for public transportation. Most tickets are also valid on both, buses and the Midlands Metro. Prices depend on the area you are traveling in and the distance of your rides. The fares also depend on how you are paying as cash payments are more expensive.
As it is the norm for the United Kingdom, the taxi companies can set prices independently. However, the prices only differ slightly, making it not too much of a problem. Most taxi companies in Birmingham charge around 2 GBP (~ 2.35 Euro / 2.40 US-Dollar) as an initial fare. In addition, there is a kilometer fare between 2 and 3 GBP. Generally, taxis in Birmingham are very safe and offer a high level of comfort. Thus, taking a taxi might be the most comfortable way to get from A to B. On the same hand, taking a taxi also is the most expensive way to get around in the city.
Birmingham comes with a beautiful canal, which allows for scenic boat rides through the city and above. The canal system is actually the largest in the world and is even bigger than the one of Venice. Yet, there is no public transport on the canals.
However, you can book various canal tours in Birmingham. Furthermore, there is Uber in Birmingham, which might be an alternative for taxi rides. If you are looking for a sightseeing tour, there is also an operator of hop on hop off buses in Birmingham.