Addressing convenience is always going to be one of the challenges of encouraging motorists to travel by rail instead, but the West Midlands Combined Authority (WMCA) are hoping a new £7.6m park and ride facility built next to Longbridge Railway Station will help some in the area make the switch.
With more than 600 spaces, CCTV security cameras, electric vehicle charging points, lifts and a range of convenient payment options, the new facility is one of Birmingham’s largest park and ride sites.
Construction on the car park facility in south Birmingham was actually completed during Spring 2020, but due to significant reductions in demand for park and ride spaces during the lockdown, the local authority kept the site under wraps.
Now, as an increasing number of people return to work and leisure activities, the Longbridge park and ride has been opened to the public, with those behind the scheme hoping it will provide an affordable alternative to motorists than driving into and parking in Birmingham city centre.
Connected to the city centre through both bus services and the neighbouring Longbridge station, commuters will be able to easily access most key areas around the city, as well as travelling on a more environmentally friendly mode of transport.
The facility was developed by Transport for West Midlands (TfWM), which forms part of the WMCA.
Cllr Ian Ward, the WMCA Portfolio Lead for Transport and Leader of Birmingham City Council, said: “This fantastic new car park offers motorists an affordable alternative to driving into and parking in Birmingham city centre or other key destinations like the university and hospital.
“The fact it is now able to open after a year is a sign that the regional economy is beginning to pick up and recover after being hard hit by the pandemic.
“TfWM is investing in park and ride at Longbridge to encourage more people to use public transport and help ease traffic congestion, contributing to our efforts to cut carbon emissions, reduce pollution and improve our air quality.”
Longbridge and West Heath Ward Councillor Debbie Clancy added: “I welcome the new park and ride because this is about capacity and choice, and it now offers commuters the opportunity to safely park their vehicles in a modern and secure facility.
“The extra parking capacity will also be very useful as people return to work and means those travelling later in the day will be able to find a space.”
The development was backed by £1.8m of funding from the Greater Birmingham and Solihull Local Enterprise Partnership (GBSLEP) and Midlands Engine.
Across the entire region, TfWM provides more than 9,000 park and ride spaces to help motorists safely store their vehicles and complete at least part of their journey using greener public transportation options.
On October 21, 2021, RTM365 is hosting a virtual event based around the rail industry’s green credentials. Register your interest here.