Getting around Birmingham and Selly Oak
Birmingham is a pretty easy city to get around as there are good road networks whether you drive, cycle or use the bus. Many of the small suburbs have, or are near to train stations too. Also there has been major work to the cycle lanes so using your bike has become more popular and safer. There are also miles of canals with scenic (and not so scenic!) towpaths if you prefer to walk or cycle away from the main road. Selly Oak is a great position as it has a train station that can get you into the University campus in one stop, and into Birmingham city centre in three stops. It is on the main road (Bristol Road A38) into Birmingham so a straight walk or cycle road into the city centre, and is by the old Worcester and Birmingham canal with its towpath into Birmingham.
Although there are great transport links for Selly Oak with regular buses and trains into the university campus and the city centre you may find nearly everything you need within walking distance anyway. The campus, local shops, restaurants and pubs are all easily accessible.
There are plenty of downloadable maps online to help you find your way around. If you want to check out the canal walk then look at https://canalrivertrust.org.uk and search for the Worcester and Birmingham canal. You can access it nearby from the Bristol area near Sainsbury’s and beyond Selly Oak train station. You will also be able to get onto the towpath by the university train station too. If you want to plan a journey and find the best walking route look at this website – http://walkit.com/cities/birmingham/ and this one for a useful map https://www.birmingham.gov.uk/walking
Using a bike can be a cheaper and more environmentally friendly option but be aware that some of Birmingham’s roads are very busy. Fortunately Selly Oak itself has had a by-pass built so you can fairly easily get about here and into the campus. There are new cycle lanes into Birmingham city centre and the local council website has more information and maps – www.birmingham.gov.uk and there is also a useful local cycling page for advice as tips in the city. Check them out at https://www.pushbikes.org.uk/ If you prefer staying away from the traffic then the towpath is a quieter option. Should you plan to leave your bike make sure you have lockable chains as many a bike goes missing. If you want to try out cycling there are several places that will rent out bikes if you check out the internet. The local council will lend out bikes but you need to register and have a leisure card. Find out more at
https://www.birmingham.gov.uk/info/50122/cycling_in_birmingham/1315/borrow_a_bike Or for hiring a bike see https://www.onyourbike.com/birmingham-bike-rental.php
If you prefer to use public transport then Selly Oak had both buses and train
Selly Oak is on the cross city line which also stops at the University station, Fiveways for easy access to the nightlife on Broad Street, and New Street in the city centre. It then continues on to the other side of Birmingham to Aston (home of Aston Villa football club) onto to the small town of Sutton Coldfield and finishing at Lichfield with its historic character and stunning old cathedral. If you jump on the other way then you can take one stop to Bournville, famous home of the Cadbury chocolate factory and right next to Stirchley which is making a name for itself with microbreweries. Then continue on to Longbridge which has a new shopping centre including a large M & S and Sainsbury’s very close to the station. To give you an idea of price a single adult from Selly Oak to Birmingham is just under £3.
There are numerous buses that will take you into the city centre including 45, 47, 63 and 76. It is a nice straight down the Bristol Road into Birmingham, although it is walkable it is much quicker by bus and easier if you have lots of shopping on the way back. Another really useful route is 11A and 11C, it is a clockwise and anti- clockwise circular route taking in various Birmingham suburbs including Bearwood, Harborne and Kings Heath. These two websites have some useful information about times, bus routes and costs – check out https://bustimes.org/localities/selly-oak and https://nxbus.co.uk/west-midlands/places-to-visit/local-facilities/areas/selly-oak
Many of the bus stops now have useful computerised information and you can download an app to your phone. Have a look at these – https://www.networkwestmidlands.com/plan-your-journey/our-apps/ https://nxbus.co.uk/mtickettravel
You need to think about how often you want to use the bus to decide what is the best way for you to travel but to give you an idea of prices it would be approximately £2.50 for an adult to make one trip on the bus or you could purchase a week pass for about £18 a week. You can get a student bus pass – find out more https://nxbus.co.uk/students/?utm_source=dottym&utm_medium=email&utm_campaign=crm&utm_content=visit_nxbus&dm_i=1XG8,57MBG,QIZY4L,K1UEF,1
There is also a university shuttle bus that operates during term time. Go onto the University of Birmingham website or look here for more information -https://intranet.birmingham.ac.uk/campus-services/sustainable-travel/Shuttle-bus-services.aspx
If you are bringing your own car to university just be aware how many cars there are in quite a small space! Parking is difficult in the narrow roads where most students live and parking at the campus is difficult as you need to apply for a permit. It may be that walking and using public transport is actually less hassle.
You might prefer to let someone else drive you especially on a night out if you are drinking. There are numerous local taxi firms you can use but remember to be careful. Legal taxis have a special number plate at the back indicating they are legitimate. The driver should also have ID which you can ask to see before you get into the vehicle. If you have any concerns then do not get into the car. It might help if you take a photo of the number plate and ID and send to a friend or family member. Unless you are jumping into a black cab you should make sure you have pre-booked. Black cabs often have stricter rules for their drivers. For example local firm TOA insists all drivers have enhanced DBS criminal checks and have satellite tracking in all their vehicles. They do have an app where you can book and track your taxi.