* Prices may differ from that shown
Having lived in Birmingham for all of my life - I have come to the conclusion that using the bus, train and metro is the best way to travel in the city centre. By Bus Many buses travel into Birmingham from a number of service providers. By far the largest is National Express. They charge (in December 2013). £1 per journey for a short hop, £2 for any longer distance. That can be just say 2 miles or all the way from Birmingham City Centre to Coventry a journey on the 900 of about 1 hour. A day saver all National Express buses all day is £3.90. So if using going on more than 2 National Express bus trips in the day then purchasing a day saver is well worth while. But this £3.90 day saver ticket is not for use on the many other smaller bus serrvice providers. Holders of National Express Day Savers will be asked to pay again. Another thing to note is that National Express do not give change on their buses. There are options for day passes for all buses and an Network pass that overs, all Buses, Local trains and the Metro. For one day this is £6 off peak...increasing for tickets for travel during peak hours. Week, 2 week, month, 3 month and a year passes can also be purchased. Most non National Express Bus providers are part of the "Swift" scheme which is a prepaid smart card. Buses are generally safe. Although can be a bit untidy towards the end of the day. There is CCTV on all National Express services. As a matter of course I try not to "go up stairs" on double decker buses. By train There are good services by train into the city from all points. The Cross City Line is every 10 minutes east to west. Other services are around every 20 minutes. There are many stations - often with free care parking. But please note that the stations are often not manned after mid afternoon so tickets will need to be purchased from the ticket machines on the platform - or a "permit" to travel purchased. Pre paid smart cards also can be purchased. Please also note that off peak tickets are not valid for travel after 3.30 pm on a week day Metro The Metro just about to be extended to New Street Station from Snow Hill gives a good fast service with many stops towards Wolverhampton. Car parking in Birmingham is expensive, with many jams. For me the best option is public transport.
My daily routine is quite easy to follow as it is just that simple. I get up with just about enough time to actually get dressed and put a little make-up on to stop me looking like the living dead. Then I dash out of my house into my car and then onto the train to work. There I spend my day and when I leave I go on the train or the bus, back to my car and home at half 6. You see working in the centre of Birmingham it is important to me that I can get to and from work easily and with the amount of public transport available to me I find I can. Well seen as I have been working here for over two years now I feel I can comment to you exactly what transport is like here in my home city. ----- Trains: I have to catch a train twice a day and I have to say that 99.9% of the time I am quite happy with the level of service I get. Trains into and out of Birmingham offer a regular and most of the time punctual service to many parts of the country. From Birmingham you can get to most stations all the way from Edinburgh to Devon and the trains do vary from the rubbish Centro trains that I have to catch every day to the nice Virgin trains with their posh first class section. Now some may not know but there are actually three separate train stations in the city centre. The first and main one is New Street station which is the one I am in twice a day. If you want to get to most of the UK then this is the station to come to. New Street is huge with over twenty platforms but no fear if you go as there are huge screens everywhere letting you know which trains go from which platform. What I love about New Street is that you cant really get lost as there are members of staff everywhere so always somebody about to ask. The station is clean and there are also plenty of places to get your ticket including quite a few fast track machines so do not worry about train journeys from here. Snow Hill station is very small and there are not many trains that go from here but mainly ones in and around Birmingham. Good for getting to many local stations. Moor street station is ever so sweet as it is quite old fashioned in the way it looks and you feel like you have stepped into a different time zone. Again not many trains go from here as New Street is the main but worth a look if you are a train fan. Basically if you want to go anywhere you can do it by train from Birmingham city centre and warnings when the trains are delayed or cancelled are clearly stated to everybody. As far as public transport goes I find the train situation in the city fantastic and to be honest it is my preferable mode of transport in Birmingham. ----- Buses: Wherever you go in Birmingham it is quite likely you will see a bus as there are so many of them. Bus services are extremely regular and mainly provide services to Birmingham and surrounding areas. There are special bus routes so they do not get bogged down with traffic and as far as a way top travel go they are great as they are very reliable. Bus stops are located around the centre so you do not have to walk miles to get to them. The only thing I would warn you about travelling by bus in Birmingham is that it is not like there is one big bus station. When I say they are all over the city centre I really do mean that so it is a good idea to find out in advance where your bus stop is. To be honest I do not even know where my bus stop is at the moment as it has moved but all you have to do is ask a driver and he will tell you where to go. Also every bus stop is clearly labelled with what buses stop there. I know three of my work colleagues travel by bus and they are never late for work which is a good sign. As far as coverage though I would probably not count on the buses that much unless you know the stops as it is easier to get the train. At least if you cant get somewhere by train though it is quite nice to know that the buses are a convenient way to travel to surrounding areas. It is worth noting too that on the bus you can get to many of the sightseeing places around the city such as Cadburys world and the botanical gardens which is quite useful to know if you are having a full day out. ----- Metro: Travelling on the Metro to me is not a good way to travel as it goes to limited places but if you fancy going somewhere such as Wolverhampton or the jewellery quarter then it is extremely quick. The reason I do not like the Metro is because it is always very cramped especially during peak travelling times. I remember once when I missed the train and I had to catch the metro to work. I was standing up and I might as well have slept with the four people by me as we were so pressed up against each other. I have always found there to be no room though and it reminds me of the London underground which freaks me out a little bit so I hate it. The good things about the metro though is that if you can catch one then you are guaranteed to get where you want to go pretty quickly as they are extremely regular (about every 3 / 5 minutes) and very cheap. Finding the metro is pretty easy as it is at snow hill train station and you will see the metro symbol around the centre. ----- Airplane: Birmingham airport is absolutely huge with planes going a lot of places in the world. So many flights depart and arrive each day and there are often several to the same destination. We always fly from Birmingham as it is a nice airport again with everything clearly sign-posted from how to get there and then when you are there, what to do. Most people who travel up to Birmingham should see signs from the airport as they are clearly stated everywhere by the city centre. Parking is available and also a train service which takes you straight there which is quite regular and again cheap. ----- Cars: It is worth mentioning that if you are planning to use a car as your transport in Birmingham then just be a bit careful. I think Birmingham suffers from city driving which basically means people always seem to be in a rush and if you stand still for two seconds you probably will get beeped. Me myself I do not like driving around the city centre as I get a bit scared and being a slow driver I do not think city driving was meant for me. Parking is good in Birmingham with places that you can park clearly labelled. There is also a lot of places you can park including within the shopping centres, huge multi-storeys and smaller more private car parks. Many of the places you can park have security or cameras so you can feel 100% safe about leaving your car there. I have never had a problem with parking in the centre. One more thing to note about driving in Birmingham is that it is hard with a lot of roundabouts and a lot of traffic to look out for so do be careful. ----- In conclusion I think that transport in Birmingham is pretty good with lots of variation available. I like the fact that there are several ways in which I can get home from work so if one way becomes an obstacle I can choose another. Like any city centre transport is a worry for most people but believe m when I say that Birmingham is great for it. I find all of the people to be friendly and if you ever get stuck then simply ask in the new street train station and they will help you find information not just on trains but all other modes of transport. Also in the past I have asked in shops and the friendly staff have helped me out. For those of you who have never been to Birmingham to be honest the city centre is not actually that huge. The only trek I find is getting to the jewellery quarter but even there you are close to all forms of transport. It seems wherever you are you will be about a ten minute walk away from public transport or a car park. If you are going to Birmingham and want any more information then let me know and I will do my best to get it for you. For now though I must go and contemplate my five minute walk to my train, oh the suffering! Thanks for reading. xxx
I would advise anyone in the West Midlands and Especially those of you who hold a young persons railcard to use the Trains in Bimingham. The Fares subserdised by the West Midlands Passenger Transport Executive are of good value. a return from University to new street only costs £1.30 or 90p with a young persons railcard. compared with 90p each way on a bus. Most of the trains operated are relitively new and reasmonbly clean. However diesel trains from Snow Hill are some what cramped. Unfortunatly Reliability is not always up to scratch. Last Winter there were delays of up to 30 minutes, however now this has improved somewhat. Buses I have only used about twice so I am not quite sure what they are like. Do not expect any change on Buses here. There is also a Metro Line From Birmingham to Wolverhampton. I don't go to those parts often so I don't know much about the Metro.
As I've said on (give or take) seventeen billion occasions, I don't drive, so anyone wanting an in-depth analysis on how to drive through Brum city centre (other than "don't, you fool!") isn't going to get one. No, in this op I shall be concentrating on the three main modes of public transport - train, bus and tram. "Wot no taxis?" I hear you cry. And indeed, they can be considered public transport. But I practically never use the things in Birmingham, so I don't think it's fair to say more than "those taxis with the South African flags on (advertising the SA tourist board) look very smart, don't they?" ***TRAINS*** First we shall survey the barren wasteland that is, or was, the Railtrack network. Actually, things aren't nearly so bad as that, and in fact the West Midlands has a pretty good rail network, with most of the major towns and cities connected by fairly frequent services. The local rail system can broadly be defined as a radial one, with "spokes" emanating from the Birmingham "hub". As with many British cities, Birmingham has more than one station, and which one you go to depends upon where you want to go: NEW STREET is the largest, busiest and best known of the city's railway stations, and is the place to go for most long-distance services (especially those run by Virgin), for Cross-City Line trains to Lichfield and Redditch, for Coventry, Wolverhampton and Walsall/Rugeley services. In addition, some trains towards Kidderminster, Worcester and Hereford go here, but only at certain times of the day. New Street was until recently an "open station", but now has permanent ticket barriers, and a good thing too (though WH Smith, who recently changed their shop layout to take advantage of the open system, can't be too pleased!). The station itself is reminiscent of a small Euston - a big noisy concourse, the oc casional aggressive beggar, nowhere at all to sit down (the platforms themselves do have some seats, though) and vastly overpriced food. For better value, go to one of the shops in the Pallasades shopping centre, which leads directly onto the concourse. SNOW HILL is a desolate sort of a place after the evening rush hour is over - the toilets are often closed, the single tiny shop (whose assistants are very helpful) closes quite early, and so does the even tinier coffee bar. This is the station to come to for most trains to Kidderminster, Worcester and Hereford (but see New St above), for local services to Stratford and Leamington and for the (excellent) Chiltern Railways trains to London. MOOR STREET is one stop down the line from Snow Hill, and the only reason for mentioning it is that it is closer to New Street than Snow Hill if you need to change lines. Chiltern Railways are refurbishing the old, much larger Moor Street terminus, but this won't be finished for a while. BIRMINGHAM INTERNATIONAL is halfway between Brum and Coventry, and serves the Airport and the NEC. It can get very crowded here when there's an exhibition on, and the platforms are rather cramped, so you might want to wait inside for as long as possible. Local trains are a wide variety - all the Cross-City trains, and many of the Wolverhampton-Coventry ones, are newish electrics, which have nasty plastic seats (but with reasonable legroom) and graffiti-crazed windows but give a decent ride and show a good turn of speed. Other local trains are generally Class 150 DMUs, which are old, cramped and noisy but do the job. If you're lucky, you might get one of the new Class 170s on longer trips, which are lovely and comfortable, but tend to break down. Almost every station within the West Midlands metropolitan area (ie that controlled by Centro, the Passenger Transport Executive) is staffed all day, which is a great boost. This even applies to tiny stations like Stourbridge Town, a mere 3/4 mile from Stourbridge Junction on Britain's shortest branch line! This, of course, means that you have no excuse whatsoever not to hold a valid ticket at all times! I have no sympathy for fare dodgers, and if you do it I hope you get caught - it's no better than shoplifting in my book. Centro and the operators lose **huge** amounts of income here which could otherwise go to improving services information - though I have to say that the timetables and maps are generally pretty good. Talking of Centro, prices in the area are pretty reasonable. If you're travelling after 9:30am (or anytime at weekends), your best bet is a Daytripper, which costs £4.00 and covers all travel on the local trains, trams and buses. There is, thankfully, no idiotic afternoon peak restriction similar to that on Liverpool's Saveaway tickets. If you need to go earlier, the One Day Centrocard is a pound more. There are, of course, longer-period season tickets, such as the Railmaster (rail only) and Centrocard (bus, tram and train). One other ticket worth mentioning is the West Midlands Day Ranger. This is a rail-only ticket that allows you to travel (again, not in the morning peak) around a large chunk of the area - as far as places like Crewe, Shrewsbury, Hereford, Evesham and Leamington, for example - but it's quite expensive at around £12. It's also almost completely unadvertised, and it's a good idea to buy it at a larger station as staff at smaller ones sometimes don't seem to know about it! ***TRAMS*** I like trams. Always have, even when the only places you could see the things working were Blackpool, Llandudno and a couple of museums. So I'm delighted to see them back in Brum, even if the system - precisely one line, to Wolverhampton - is pathetic when put up against places like Sheffield. The Midland Metro, as it's officially known, is hoping to expand soon with a branch using a n old railway line through Dudley (a large town with no central railway station) to the Merry Hill shopping centre, and another street-running section linking New Street with Snow Hill, echoing Manchester's highly successful Piccadilly-Victoria link. A current court case (about how high above the road rails can protrude) might delay things, though. The system originally relied on self-service ticket machines, but vandalism was so bad that these have now been taken out of use, and all trams have conductors, a change that many people have welcomed. One much less desirable result of the attacks, though, is that the operators have been forced to increase fares by huge amounts - 30% and more in some cases - merely to make ends meet. Some season tickets have also become less useful - for example, the Zones 1&2 Centrocard is not now valid on trams at all. This is a dreadful outcome, as tickets were already a little steep, though a bus/tram day ticket isn't bad value at £3.50. Inside, the trams are reasonably well designed, with fairly comfortable seats (the ones behind the driver go very early, unsurprisingly!) and plenty of standing room - important, as with trams only every 8 minutes they can get very busy at times. The journey is very smooth for the most part, even if you're standing up, though the constant bings and bongs can get on your nerves after a while. The voiceover announcements are very clear - certainly much better than the mumbling you get on Manchester's Metrolink - though the voice had to be changed after launch as it was "insufficiently Brummie"! (It's still not very, if you ask me.) The trams are effectively trains for most of the journey, as they use an old railway line (though there are far more pedestrian crossings and far fewer fences than on a railway, as trams have much better brakes). The last mile or so into Wolverhampton City Centre (yay! *City*!), though, are street-running, and I still t hink it feels rather special to be gliding along ordinary roads in your electromobile... ***BUSES*** All change! No, I haven't gone back to the trains section by mistake. I'm merely drawing attention to the fact that it's important you carry some change with you if you want to use the buses. Why? Simple - the maximum off-peak fare is 95p (there now follows a short pause for those of us who live in rural areas to sob quietly ..... are you done?), and the buses don't give change - you drop your coins into a slot and take a ticket from a dispenser. This is, far and away, the most irritating thing about Birmingham buses. Travel West Midlands (TWM) claim it's for "speed and security", but neither stands up under scrutiny. The "speed" argument is undermined by the fact that just about all of TWM's competitors (and even one of its own subsidiaries, Travel Merry Hill) *do* give change. And as for "security" - why not follow the lead of City Line in Bristol and give change in tokens, redeemable against future journeys rather than cash? On the plus side of the ledger, though, there is a very comprehensive bus network in and around Birmingham, and you shouldn't have to wait more than 20 minutes at a stop for a bus to more or less anywhere. It is a good idea to take account of the size of the place, though - it might not seem like a very long way from the City Centre to Merry Hill, but in fact it will take well over an hour. And that's after you've found your damn stop - Birmingham doesn't have a proper central bus station at all, instead relying on an arcane collection of stops slapped down more or less at random throughout the city. The guides aren't much help (yes, okay, so it's stop Ak, but where *is* it???), so it's squint at the map and take pot luck the first couple of times. The other big towns and cities in the region - Wolverhampton, Dudley, West Brom wich, Walsall etc - do have bus stations, some very new and posh, which is a blessed relief. TWM has been buying an awful lot of new buses in the last few years, and this has its good points and its bad points. On the positive side, breakdowns are much less common and there's a lot less graffiti. But someone at the buying department seems to have forgotten about the c-word - "comfort". Some of the new double-deckers, in particular, quite apart form having far too few opening windows, have so little knee-room that even an averagely tall man like me (5 foot 10) has to sit diagonally to get in at all - to give them their due, TWM have slightly improved things on some buses, but in general the new-style plastic moulded seats are fantastically uncomfortable, incomparably worse than the older bench models. Why they persist with this madness I have no idea. It should be noted that some routes - such as the 79 from Birmingham to Wolverhampton, which for some reason is run with single-deckers - can get *very* busy, even in mid-afternoon, and you really do not want to be carrying more than you really need to - yes, you *will* be told to get your bag off the seat on such buses, and if you're selfish enough to sit on the aisle seat you deserve all the abuse you get. Those routes upon which double-deckers ply are generally much better in this department... ...though of course all the problems which have plagued double-deckers in the past are still around. Smoking is less common than it used to be, but it's still something you'll come across, and asking someone to stop is a distinctly uncomfortable experience at best. Rowdy schoolkids are normally not too much of a problem, as they'll leave you alone if you leave them alone, but drunken, aggressive "youths" (as the crime reports call them) on Friday evenings are another matter. My advice here is to get off at the next stop where there are plenty of people around a nd wait for the next bus - the few minutes in the open air will calm you down, apart from anything else. Of course, it's easier to do this if you're using a pass rather than paying in cash. Getting a pass is highly recommended, as it also bypasses the "exact fare only" problem. There's the all-modes Daytripper (mentioned under Trains above), but the best bus-only one to go for in most cases is the TWM Daysaver, which is available at anytime except for weekday morning rush hours, and costs £2.50. You can only use it on TWM buses (obviously), but in 95% of cases this won't be a problem. One misunderstanding people often have can be cleared up simply: with a Daytripper, you can use non-TWM buses, but can't leave the West Midlands county; with a Daysaver, it's the other way around. Birmingham and its local area have a pretty good public transport system by today's standards - nowhere near London's, of course (all you Londoners who whinge about it, we'll take it off your hands like a shot!), but acceptable. There are, as we've seen, quite a few niggles that could easily be sorted out at little cost, but overall you can be reasonably confident of getting about the area without a car.
Public Transport in The Second City, Thrills Spills and Grannies shopping. *Bus* The main form of transport in Birmingham is the bus service run by Travel West Midlands. I have used this service daily for over 10 years so am pretty qualified to slag it off. Bus prices are average, a standard adult fare is £1 in peak time. There are a range of bus passes available to buy from specified newsagents which work out cheaper than fares: it costs £10.90 for a weeks pass, and if you pay by direct debit it is only £30 a month. School children can buy passes for a whole term for £60 which is pretty good as it lasts for 4 months. You can get insurance for £15 which means if you lose your pass or it gets nicked you get a new one for nothing. OAP's get free bus passes which they can use after 9:30am any week day and any other time. They used to not be allowed to get on the bus between 3:30 and 6:30 but they complained so TWM changed it. I thought it was perfectly reasonable as during the rush hours the buses are very busy and there are not enough seats as it is without having to give them up to the oldies. You can also buy a daysaver ticket on the bus for £2.50 (£1.70 for a child) which lets you use all the buses for a day. The child ones used to be £1 but too many naughty people like myself got them so they put the price up. You can also get a special ticket for 4 people for a day for £4, but you have to all stay together. A nice idea for a family day out. Oh, and after 7:30pm you can get an evening saver for £1.40 which lets you go up town and get pissed and come home on the last bus. It's just an unlimited ticket for that evening. There are hundreds of different bus services, most covered by TWM but look out for a few others like Midland Red and Pete?s travel. You can only use Busmaster bus passes on these or else you have to pay a normal fare. Most of the bus services just run to the city centre and o ut, then you have you the number 8 Inner Circle and the 11 Outer Circle Bus Routes. For 7 years of my life the 11 bus was a major cause of frustration in my life. It is a 12 mile long circular route, which has a habit of not coming for 3 hours and then 10 come past at once. Avoid using the 11 if you can, but at least you avoid having to go into town and back out again to get somewhere. Unfortunately when I go back to uni I will be forced to use the 11 daily for 3 years (hence me seriously considering getting driving lessons). Most of the bus stops in town are on Corporation Street or Temple Row by the Cathedral. The convention on Birmingham buses is that you pay when you get on, by putting the exact fare into a chute thingy by the driver. There is no change given which visitors find annoying but imagine how long the bus would be held up if everyone needed change! It's a pain though if you only have a fiver cos you have to go to the shop and buy some chocolate or something to get the change (OH NO!) Fare evasion and fraud is fairly common, mostly with people using out of date daysavers and bus passes or paying child. Children in Birmingham schools are all supposed to get Under 16 bus cards and 16-18 Bus cards entitling 16-18 year olds to child fares if in education. The under 16 cards are to prove your age- the problem with these cards is that they cost £5, (why should you be forced to pay?) and take ages to come when you fill in the forms. Oh, and you need a teachers signature so you can?t get one if you are over 18 (damn). I just pay child when I can and am never asked to show ID. The bus passes are harder to forge now and a crack down on evasion has resulted on one poor 15 year old boy being dragged to court and made to pay a £100 fine. Glad it wasn't me! Bus drivers vary, from miserable Morris " drive at 5 mph, yell at you for being 1p short, braking so sharply you fall onto someones lap", to Sweet Simon "don 39;t worry about the fare, lower the bus to help you get off and smile sexily". Unfortunately Sweet Simon's are of limited number. If you are a regular passenger on a bus route the bus drivers get to know you and let you get away with not paying (they do for me anwyay!) and stop the bus right by your house. Ah, it's good to be female sometimes. Every now and then, inspectors will do a crack down on a particular bus route to check everyones tickets and passes. They used to do this a lot on the bus route to and from my college and it was a frightening experience! There are about 5 huge men in black uniforms who all leap on the bus and demand to see all passes and tickets. Luckily people get tip offs about which route they are doing and I often found myself walking home from college to avoid them. If you are caught having paid the wrong fare or without a ticket you get a £10 on the spot fine (SEE HELLYPHANT'S OP ON MOST EMBARRASSING MOMENTS- she got caught pretending to be me, ha ha haaaaa!), a red face and a telling off at the side of the pavement. If you have actually forged your pass (*whistles innocently*), unless you can find some crocodile tickets and flash your cleavage, you are looking at something more serious. So don't do it children. Ahem. The buses have all recently been changed to new models, lovely Mercedes ones which kneel down to let people with pushchairs get on easily. There is a mixture of double decker, single decker and long bendy buses. On all of the buses there is a rack for putting shopping or folded pushchairs in but I never leave anything in there unless I am sitting next to it for fear of someone running away with my Kwik save bag of economy beans (hey you never know, they might be desperate!). There is an area with fold up seats which is for wheelchair users and people with babies and small children in pushchairs. There is only room for one, maybe two small ones but it's better than nothi ng and means the aisle doesn?t get blocked. There are rails throughout the bus so you don't fall over, and bells by every seat so you can request that the bus stops. There is a no smoking policy on all buses with signs warning of a £500 fine but people always smoke, especially at the back of the top deck, so sit downstairs if this will bother you. Never ask anyone to stop unless you want a face full of abuse, I have seen it happen far too many times sadly. I think the buses should have more inspectors to protect the passengers safety. Although many buses are now fitted with CCTV I am not convinced that these work. I have seen all sorts of things on the bus such as people being beaten up and been abused and even spat at myself. Now I tend to sit on the bottom because I don't want to get involved in anything like this. It makes me angry though because why should I have to sit in a certain place when I have not done anything wrong? My friends Dad is a bus driver and they now have glass partitions between them and the passengers due to a number of violent incidents. I wish there was a way of banning these people from the buses. There are a number of night bus services but I don?t use them anymore. Some are run by TWM and others by Pete's travel bus. I used to always get the Pete?s travel night bus home and had a lovely driver called George. He would always drop me at the bottom of my road although there was no bus stop there and let me off the fare till next time if I had no money. Lovely man, wish all bus drivers were like him! The night buses cost a flat fare of £1.50 and run on the hour from various stops in the city centre and along Broad Street. It is worth it if there are one or two of you but for more people you may as well get a taxi. I have seen all kinds of fights and been involved in one too many nasty incidents on night buses- alcohol, early mornings and buses do not mix well. I do not like the bus service but there is not really any other choice when you do not have a car. It is relatively cheap but not exactly reliable. You may have to wait an hour for the bus and sit next to a nutter but at least you will get home (eventually). *Trains* There used to be a lot more inter city travel by train in Birmingham but for some reason many local stations have closed down and services inactivated. This is a shame because I would much prefer to take the train home than the bus, therefore avoiding the traffic. The few trains there are run from City Centre-University-Selly Oak- Bournville (a lovely station where all the rails and fittings are painted Purple because of the Cadbury factory), Kings Norton and then on to Redditch and other distant non Brummie land places. The trains are clean and run on time when there are no leaves on the line or other problems. It is rare to have an inspector on the train so is a very cheap way to travel (although they are installing barriers soon so you will have to pay up). *Metro* I have only used the metro a few times, to go to Wolverhampton and the Jewellery Quarter but was very impressed. This is a new tram system serving the North of the city linking Birmingham with Wolverhampton and numerous places inbetween. It is clean, punctual and has an inspector on board to collect fares and keep order. The prices are more expensive than the bus but still reasonable and I recommend the metro. There are plans to extend the metro to Five Ways and the Merry Hill shopping centre in the near future which is a good thing. This turned out to be rather a long review but I found I had a lot to say about a service I use daily. There are improvements which could be made but most of the bad points about public transport in Birmingham come down to the users rather than the actual services. The day I get my licence I will be a happy kitty but until then I have no choice but to use the bus. Even when I do have a bike I will st ill use the bus occasionally as it is far more convenient to hop on the bus to go shopping in town than to get in a traffic jam and pay £5 to park in a multi storey.