5 tips for using the Birmingham Xpress [Video]

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Birmingham Xpress
Birmingham Xpress. (Nathan Watson / Bham Now)

The long-anticipated Birmingham Xpress Bus Rapid Transit (BRT) system is finally here! After celebrating their grand opening in September, the Birmingham Xpress has officially begun service. We put together five handy tips to ensure your first ride is a cinch. Read on to check ’em out.

Birmingham Xpress Public Service Announcement 🚌

Have you noticed the shiny new orange buses around Birmingham? They’re part of the Birmingham Xpress, a public transit system that enables citizens to reach employment, educational opportunities and healthcare centers in The Magic City. By utilizing Bus Rapid Transit (BRT) technology—think light rail on wheels—the Birmingham Xpress is able to offer fast, reliable and cost-effective transportation to 25 neighborhoods.

Now, onto those handy tips we promised.👇

1. “Bus Only” Lanes

Birmingham Xpress
Have you seen the new Birmingham Xpress bus only lanes? (Nathan Watson / Bham Now)

The addition of new “Bus Only” lanes is one of the most important changes you’ll need to keep in mind now that the Birmingham Xpress is active. These new lanes are located on:

  • 18th Street North 
  • 18th Street South  
  • 5th Avenue South   

Parking and driving in these lanes is prohibited and will be enforced by ticketing and towing.

2.  Transit Signal Priority (TSP) technology

Birmingham Xpress
Did you know? The Birmingham Xpress can keep lights green to make it to the next platform on time! (Nathan Watson / Bham Now)

Each Birmingham Xpress bus is outfitted with new Transit Signal Priority (TSP) technology, which allows the bus to keep the light green to meet the 15 minute headway between platforms. But that’s not all.

At three intersections in town, the Birmingham Xpress will be able to perform a queue jump—a method that allows the bus in the right lane to turn left onto major thoroughfares. The queue jump will allow the Birmingham Xpress to bypass traffic that builds up at these intersections during busy hours. These intersections are located on:

  • Bessemer Road
  • 5th Avenue South
  • 18th Avenue South

3. Boarding / Exiting Protocol

Birmingham Xpress
A Birmingham Xpress platform on 18th Street North. (Nathan Watson / Bham Now)

When boarding a Birmingham Xpress bus, remember to let departing passengers off first before trying to board—it’s only polite! When a Birmingham Xpress bus pulls up to a docking station, it will automatically adjust to the height of the platform for easier boarding. The process will take a few moments, so be patient.

4. Birmingham Xpress Ammenities

Birmingham Xpress
Each bus can accommodate two bicycles. (Nathan Watson / Bham Now)

As Birmingham’s most modern transit system, the Birmingham Xpress will likely be the most luxurious bus you’ve ever ridden. Inside, riders have access to free internet service and cell phone charging plugs—but that’s not all.

Each Birmingham Xpress bus can seat between 25-30 passengers and offers self-securing wheelchair parking for passengers with ADA needs. Plus, the front of each bus can store up to two bicycles!

5. Complimentary Service through November 22 🎉

Birmingham Xpress
Tickets to ride the Birmingham Xpress can be purchased at any Birmingham Xpress station. (Nathan Watson / Bham Now)

Ready to try the new Birmingham Xpress system? You’re in luck! The City of Birmingham and Birmingham-Jefferson Transit Authority is offering free, complimentary rides on the Birmingham Xpress until Tuesday, November 22nd.

After November 22, the cost to ride the Birmingham Xpress will be the same as tickets for Birmingham’s MAX Transit system:

  • One-Way Pass: $1.50
  • All-Day Pass: $3.50

Follow the City of Birmingham and the Birmingham-Jefferson County Transit Authority to stay up to date on the Birmingham Xpress!

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Nathan Watson
Nathan Watson

Senior Content Producer at Bham Now

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