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Cutting the commuting

AMBITIOUS plans to bring the Midland Metro into Solihull could slash journey times for commuters.

AMBITIOUS plans to bring the Midland Metro into Solihull could slash journey times for commuters.

Two lines running through the borough would connect Birmingham International with the city centre.

One would run-up through Elmdon, Sheldon and Yardley, with the other passing Birmingham Business Park and continuing through north Solihull.

But at last week’s cabinet meeting, councillors gave the scheme a cautious welcome - there have been many false-starts in the past.

Councillor David Jamieson, cabinet member for transport, said that the project could make a big difference to travel times.

“This is an aspirational scheme, there’s never a 100 per cent guarantee about funding, but I think there’s a strong will to get it done,” he said.

“It will allow people to get around much quicker, for instance, it could take people from Chelmsley Wood to Birmingham city centre in 10-12 minutes.”

The 94 bus service takes over 45 minutes to do that journey, so Metro would be well received by travellers.

Coun Mick Corser (Lab, Chelmsley Wood) said: “We need to get the message out to the people about what this scheme will mean.

“Otherwise there’s a risk that we’re leaving it in the hands of people who don’t want it.”

Conservative group leader, Coun Ken Meeson, warned that the plans had been on the table for over 20 years.

“Minutes [for journeys] is good, but if it’s in our lifetime then all the better.”

Many thought that the £127.1 million project would be axed by Transport Secretary Philip Hammond, but it was given a reprieve last year.

It’s hoped that the first sections of track will be laid in 2012, but the extensions into Solihull are likely to be several years off.

 

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