Network West Midlands organises Birmingham’s public transport system, which is comprised of buses, a light rail route and suburban trains.
Buses are run by National Express West Midlands, Stagecoach and several other companies that provide a good bus service in the Birmingham area and throughout West Midlands county.
One-way bus fares range from £1.50 (for a single trip on National Express West Midlands buses anywhere within the Birmingham inner ring road) to £2.40 (£2.30 with contactless payment) for a longer journey. A day ticket costs £4.60 (£4.50 with contactless payment). If you pay using a contactless payment card on a National Express West Midlands bus your fare will be automatically upgraded to a day ticket if you take two trips or more.
You need exact change if you’re paying cash, but most buses also accept contactless payment cards or the Swift card.
West Midlands Metro (tram)
The one-line West Midlands Metro light rail system runs between the city centre and Wolverhampton. In central Birmingham, it stops at Centenary Square (for the library), Town Hall, Grand Central (for Birmingham New Street station), Corporation Street, Bull Street (for Snow Hill railway station), St Chads, St Pauls and Jewellery Quarter stations. For most of its length, it runs along the street like a tram. One-way fares cost start at £1.50 (for a short hop in the city centre) and go up to £4. There are several travel passes (see below) that cover travel on the metro.
Birmingham has a good suburban rail network that is comprised of eight train lines. The train is a good way to get to places like the ibis hotel at Bordesley, the Jewellery Quarter, Cadbury World in Bourneville and the Barber Institute at the University. The train is also the quickest way to Birmingham International Airport and Coventry.
Fares and travel passes
If you’re planning on spending a lot of time in the West Midlands, then the Swift card will be the easiest way to pay for your bus, tram and train fares. The Swift card is a stored-value payment card similar to the Oyster card that is used in London. Fares are slightly cheaper if you pay using a Swift card but the saving isn’t great enough to justify buying a Swift card if you’re only in Birmingham for a day or two.
nnetwork one-day card (bus, train & tram)
The nnetwork one-day card is good for one day of unlimited travel on bus, train and Metro trams within the Network West Midland area. It is valid all day and costs £9 (£8.80 with a Swift card).
nnetwork daytripper (bus, train & tram)
The nnetwork daytripper pass is good for one day of unlimited travel on bus, train and Metro trams within the Network West Midland area. It is an off-peak ticket good for travel after 9.30 Mon–Fri and all day on weekends. The nnetwork daytripper costs £6.90 (£6.70 with a Swift card).
nBus One Day Ticket (bus)
The nBus One Day Ticket costs £4.80 (£4.70 with Swift Pay As You Go) and is good for one-day unlimited bus travel within West Midlands County. An off-peak version of the one-day bus ticket costs £4.20 (£4.10 with a Swift card).
nBus + Metro daysaver (bus & tram)
The nBus + Metro daysaver pass costs £6.60 (£6.50 with a Swift card) and is good for one day bus and West Midlands Metro tram travel within West Midlands County. There is a cheaper version of this ticket that costs £5.20 (£5.10 with a Swift card) but bus travel on the cheaper pass is restricted to National Express West Midlands buses only.
West Midlands Day Ranger (train)
The West Midlands Day Ranger is a good deal if you want to make a day trip out of Birmingham. It is good for one-day unlimited travel in the West Midlands (Birmingham and Coventry) and parts of neighbouring counties including Crewe, Hereford, Northampton, Leamington Spa, Rugby, Shrewsbury, Stafford, Stoke-on-Trent, Stratford-upon-Avon and Worcester. It is good for off-peak travel after 9am Mon–Fri and all day on weekends. This pass costs £27.30.