Centro advice for city weekend

Public transport network ready for Birmingham’s big weekend of arts, music and sport.

With Birmingham gearing up for its Big Weekend, the city’s public transport network has prepared for tens of thousands of extra passengers with a fleet of extra trains, trams and buses.

This Saturday and Sunday (September 26th and 27th) sees a host of events including the first weekend of trading for the Grand Central shopping centre and John Lewis department store, Birmingham Arts Festival and the rugby World Cup games at Villa Park.

Today Centro, the region’s public transport delivery body, echoed the call of Birmingham City Council for people coming into the city that weekend to use public transport and avoid the headache of trying to find a parking space.

The increased numbers of people means parking in the city will be at capacity, while strict parking controls will be in place in and around Villa Park.

There are additional trains between Birmingham New Street and Aston for the Rugby World Cup games, whilst Sunday will see a Saturday service operating on the Midland Metro between Wolverhampton and Birmingham.

Bus companies will also be operating special shuttle bus services between the Fanzone at Millennium Point and Villa Park.

Pete Bond, Centro’s Head of Network Services said that with the extra numbers of visitors expected into the city it was important people planned ahead for their journey.

“It’s going to be a brilliant weekend and Birmingham has an extensive public transport system that is ready to deal with the expected numbers of extra visitors, but people can play their part too,” he said.

“If you are coming into the city centre that weekend then planning your journey and maybe setting out a little earlier than you normally would you can help ease the pressure on the network. We want people to enjoy what is going the weekend of events and where the best way to travel is going to be by bus, train or tram.”

The Rugby World Cup games at Villa Park will see South Africa play Samoa on September 26th and Australia play Uruguay the following day. More than 40,000 fans will travel to the stadium from all over the country on both days, while thousands more will watch the games on the big screen at the Fan Zone at Eastside Park, next to Millennium Point, in Birmingham city centre.

Full details on ticket and travel arrangements around Villa Park can be found at the Rugby Football Union website at www.rugbyworldcup.com/

The weekend is also the first trading weekend for Grand Central Birmingham, which opens its doors for the first time on Thursday 24th September 2015. Situated above New Street station it will be home to one of the biggest John Lewis department stores in the UK and more than 60 other shops, restaurants and cafes, many of them new to the city.

Nearby, music will ring out round Victoria Square as Birmingham Arts Festival sees an ensemble of Pakistani, Indian and Kashmiri musicians working with Jamaican reggae musicians to create a new inter-cultural orchestra. Similarly, dance inspired by the famous Maori haka, alongside an introduction to ballet, will appear in Centenary Square. Music, dance, roaming street-theatre and art will take visitors by surprise in shops and department stores with performances inside, outside and in shop windows.

Meanwhile, fashionistas will be heading to Birmingham Museum and Art Gallery over the weekend for Style Birmingham Live, which will be hosted by Only Way Is Essex star Mark Wright.

Two other events – Birmingham City FC’s home game at St Andrew’s against Rotherham on Saturday 26th September, and comedian Michael McIntyre at the Barclaycard Arena at the NEC later that day and also on Sunday – are expected to place further demand on the public transport network.

To work out how to get to any of these events by public transport visit the Network West Midlands Birmingham Weekender journey planner website at www.networkwestmidlands.com/Birmingham/weekender/