MP campaigns against bus service cut
MP for South Staffordshire, Sir Gavin Williamson, is campaigning to save the number 5 bus service which is set to be cut from Codsall and Bilbrook.
As part of wider changes across National Express West Midlands, the 5 service between Wolverhampton and Codsall will no longer be operated by the operator. Banga Buses is to start a revised 5/5A service on an updated timetable.
The suggested replacement bus service raised Sir Gavin’s concern, as he feared the service, which would only run until 5pm, would fail those returning from work, university or college after that time.
Sir Gavin has taken the decision to contact and arrange to meet the Managing Director of National Express to put some pressure on the company to repeal the decision. Further to this, Sir Gavin has contacted the Secretary of State for Transport to appeal for contact to be made with the Chief Executive of the National Express, and to inquire about measures that can be taken to improve upon the regularity of bus services in rural areas.
“To get rid of this service would be an uphill battle for those trying to feed their families” – Sir Gavin Williamson
Sir Gavin said: “This is a matter I know to be of incredible frustration for my constituents, and I’m doing everything I can to improve upon the public transport in my area. The decision taken to axe both the number 5 and 5A will disrupt accessibility for those from Codsall, Bilbrook and Whitmore Reans, and it is important that all have access to sufficient means of transport so that they can arrive on time to their place of work or education. To get rid of this service would be an uphill battle for those trying to feed their families and those working for a better future. “
Further service changes
National Express West Midlands is making changes to some bus services in the coming weeks, including new services, revised timetables and some route alterations.
The changes take effect on 22 October, 29 October and 5 November 2023.
Overall, most of the affected services only have timetable alterations to improve reliability and ensure customers are served more efficiently, says National Express. A small number of services will see other changes aimed to better meet travel patterns and maintain connectivity across the bus network.
Changes from 22 October include the X1 service between Birmingham and Coventry, which will see fully electric zero-emission double-deckers launched on the route. The change to electric buses coincides with timetable changes to the X1, X2, X14 and 71.
Two new services will also be introduced from the 22nd. A new 71A bus service will begin between Chelmsley Wood and Sutton Coldfield, serving the new Amazon depot at Peddimore. It follows National Express West Midlands’ new 67A service which was launched on 8 October, providing new bus links between Birmingham and the new Amazon depot.
The operator will also begin operating the 96 service between Kingstanding and Chelmsley Wood from Monday to Saturday, serving Perry Common, Erdington, The Fort and Castle Bromwich.
“Our priority is to continue to build on the positive steps we are taking to improve the reliability of our services and to keep fares low” – Ed Rickard, Network Director for National Express
Ed Rickard, Network Director for National Express, said: “We know that our bus services are vital lifelines for many customers and communities and we have been working closely with Transport for West Midlands to continue protecting as many services as possible across the region.
“In common with bus operators nationwide, we are seeing changes to travel patterns due to a number of lifestyle changes, including more people working from home and shopping online. This means we have to look at our network to ensure we can maintain the best bus coverage for the people of the West Midlands.
“Our priority is to continue to build on the positive steps we are taking to improve the reliability of our services and to keep fares low, with nBus ticket and passes now providing customers with the flexibility to hop on any bus within the nBus zone for the same great price.”
Ahead of half-term there will be some timetable changes from 29 October. From 5 November, further reductions to National express west Midlands services are due to take place.