West Midlands bus route 11

West Midlands bus route 11
11A / 11C

Route 11C seen in Acocks Green Village
Operator National Express West Midlands
Vehicle Wright Eclipse Gemini
Predecessors AM PM Travel, Falcon Travel, Serverse Travel
Start Acocks Green Garage
Via A4040
End Acocks Green Garage
Length 27 miles (43 km)

The Birmingham Outer Circle is a roughly circular, 27 mile (43 km) bus route in Birmingham, England (a small section crosses into Sandwell). It mainly follows the city's outer ring road, the A4040 with some small deviations to serve some rail stations and shopping areas. Buses on the Outer Circle are numbered 11C on the clockwise journey and 11A on the anticlockwise journey. Buses are numbered 11E for journeys terminating at Acocks Green or City Hospital.

The route is operated by National Express West Midlands, usually with Volvo B7TL/Wrightbus double-decker buses.

The main operator on the route is National Express West Midlands. Following bus deregulation in 1986 several companies have competed on sections of this route. Falcon Travel, Serverse Travel and AM PM Travel have traversed the entire route.



The number 11 is Europe's longest urban bus route and first came into existence as two routes in 1923: the no.10 ran from King's Heath to the King's Head (Hagley Road) via Cotteridge, and the no.11 from Six ways Erdington to Acocks Green and Moseley. The route was first operated as a complete circuit on 26 April 1926, the idea being to better link the suburbs of Birmingham, as most routes at that time travelled in and out of the city [1]

The route is traversed annually by a cavalcade of vintage buses.[2] Run by the Aston Manor Transport Museum, the event began in 1977 and has continued each year since with the exception of 2000, in which it was cancelled due to a national fuel shortage.[3]

The route was upgraded in 2004 by Centro. Over £25 million was spent on CCTV coverage, bus priority measures, new shelters with electronic information displays and new low-floor buses.[4]

AM PM Travel began operating on the service in October 2009, increasing the frequency of their route in December.[5] Six re-furbished Volvo Olympian buses have been entered onto the new service fitted with Wi-Fi technology.


A full circuit takes 2–3hrs to complete, depending on traffic conditions, and the service carries 50,000 passengers each day.[1] There are 266 bus stops on the route.[4] The route serves 233 schools, colleges or universities, 69 leisure and community facilities, 40 pubs, 19 retail centres, 6 hospitals, and one prison.[6] It also links some 15 commercial centres, and passes Cadbury's in Bournville, one of the world's largest chocolate factories.

The outer circle is the traditional route for the BRMB Walkathon, a sponsored walk which raises funds for charity.[7]

On weekdays service 11A runs every 7–10 minutes and the 11C every 3–9 minutes, with lower frequencies in the evenings and at weekends. The Wright Eclipse Geminis used on route 11A/C/E have green 'Every 8 minutes' branding.

Current route

(Clockwise from the A34, in the North of the city.)

In popular culture

The Birmingham band Woodbine's eponymous 1999 album features the track "Outer Circle", a tribute to the bus route.[1] In 2001 a group of musicians from Birmingham created a concert based on the route.[8]

On 11 November 2008 (starting at 11am), humourist Jon Bounds spent eleven hours travelling the route, documenting his journey online, using Twitter, Facebook and a blog, elevenbus.co.uk.[9]

In October 2009 Kevin Beresford, a 57-year old resident of Birmingham, created a calendar dedicated to the anti-clockwise portion of the route.[6]


External links

Wikimedia Foundation. 2010.

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