A week into April, bus users in Birmingham started their week with confusion and disorder, when a significant amount of the bus stops in the city centre were changed to different locations. The changes commenced from Sunday 7th April; workers and students commuting into the city on Monday morning were met with quite an unrelaxed morning, having to navigate their way around the city from the new stops that were put in place. 

Travel for West Midlands (TfWM) provided a lengthy list of almost forty bus routes which were to have different bus stops. The alterations to the usual stops in the city are a result of the necessity to extend the track of the Metro tram, near Lower Bull Street, through Albert street. While it doesn’t sound like a major job, the construction has transformed the area around Moor Street Queensway into a chaotic area, which feels more like walking through a treacherous obstacle course, rather than a city street. In order to exit the lower end of Moor Street Queensway, towards the Clayton hotel, you now have to navigate around the haphazardly placed barriers and fences, and weave your way in and out of traffic cones as you walk down the middle of the road, which the occasional car still creeps down, leaving you to speedily shuffle right over to the edge, making you feel more like a trespasser than a pedestrian. 

The changes were no secret, but minimal information was provided regarding the news, and TfWM approached the changes with an arguably lax attitude: there was quite minimal information on exactly how to navigate to the new locations of the bus stops, and where they would be located. Most of the bus stops were littered with a couple of A4 signs provided by TfWM, informing about the whether the stop was changing and the name of the street the new one would reside on, and a message informing people to check social media and the website for more information, however, many people found this information to be too vague, and found that they still felt uninformed. 

University student Asma Mohammed was impacted by the changes- having to take a different route, and being late to university one day. “I was late to university. I wasn’t informed and the bus stops didn’t have any advice on which way to take, where to go. This led me to take another route the following day. I managed, but…I wish there was some form of communication.” 

The alterations in the city were a necessary part of work which needed to be carried out, and were understandably unavoidable, yet there’s no doubt that the minimal information through plenty of people off. The changes are due to be in place until approximately Autumn 2024, according to TfWM.