Two Birmingham bus services axed & 32 routes face major changes - full details

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Transport for West Midlands is axing two Birmingham bus routes and 32 other routes are facing major changes across the West Midlands

Three bus services - including two in Birmingham - are being withdrawn next month, and 32 other services are facing major changes.

The announcement from Transport for West Midlands (TfWM) comes days after it was announced that the West Midlands bus service network would be secured at near current levels and continue to operate without radical change until January 2025.

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The changes are being identified after TfWM announced that there will be four new cross-city bus routes in Birmingham covering the north, east, south and west of the city.

Transport for West Midlands (TfWM), which is part of the West Midlands Combined Authority, has injected £40 million of support to the West Midlands’ bus network. However, the public transport body says a number of services which do not provide value for money will go through service changes - with three being withdrawn.

There are 394 total bus services in the West Midlands and in addition to three being withdrawn there will be changes to 32 services - some will have timetable changes, some new operators and three services are to be withdrawn.

Announcing the changes TfWM said: “This is due to low passenger numbers, higher operating costs and changes in travel patterns which means they no longer provide value for money for the taxpayer.”

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The changes are to services operated under subsidy from TfWM following the annual review of contracts. Subsidies are provided for services which are not commercially viable but deemed socially necessary. These services already receive public funding but they are not covered by the new bus service protection agreement.

However, they do need to meet longstanding value for money rules that are needed to justify the use of taxpayers’ money. The three services being withdrawn no longer meet those rules.

Birmingham bus services to be cancelled (Photo - Tupungato - stock.adobe.com)Birmingham bus services to be cancelled (Photo - Tupungato - stock.adobe.com)
Birmingham bus services to be cancelled (Photo - Tupungato - stock.adobe.com) | Tupungato - stock.adobe.com

Here are the bus services to be withdrawn in Birmingham and Coventry

  • 25 – Bromford to Erdington Six Ways - From 29 October 2023, this Solus Coaches service will no longer be operating. Alternative services covering the area include the X12 Birmingham to Solihull via Chelmsley Wood; X13 Birmingham to Chelmsley Wood via Castle Bromwich; 28 Heartlands Hospital to Great Barr via Erdington; 11A / 11C Birmingham Outer circle.
  • 600 – Brookvale to Erdington Circular - From 29 October 2023, this Solus Coaches service will no longer be operating. Alternative services covering the area include the number 7 Birmingham to Perry Common via Witton; 11A / 11C Birmingham Outer circle; 65 Birmingham to Perry Common via Short Heath.
  • 19 – Tile Hill to Coventry via Cannon Park Shopping Centre / Westwood Business Park - From 5 November 2023, this National Express Coventry service will no longer be operating. A partial replacement will be provided by the 2 (Tile Hill to Coventry via Torrington Avenue). This service is also operated by National Express Coventry.

TfWM added that the ring and ride service can also provide an alternative for those who are eligible.

Which bus services in Birmingham and the West Midlands are facing changes?

Here are the changes to bus services that TfWM has announced so far in upcoming months - we will bring you more details when we receive them:

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  1. 002 – Weoley Castle to Merry Hill via Halesowen - From 22 October 2023, this service will no longer operate on Sundays.From 29 October 2023, National Express West Midlands will operate an extended X21 service to Merry Hill via Weoley Castle & Halesowen once an hour to provide an equivalent service.
  2. 2 - Maypole to Birmingham - From 5 November 2023, this Bus service will operate with a revised timetable.
  3. 2 – Tile Hill to Coventry via Torrington Avenue - From 5 November 2023, this National Express Coventry service will be operating with some changes to the route and timetable. Buses will extend beyond Tile Hill to either Westwood Business Park (in times) or Cannon Park Shopping Centre (in off-peak times).
  4. 5 – Wolverhampton to Codsall - From 5 November 2023, this National Express West Midlands service will no longer be operating. Banga Buses will be operating a 5/5A service to partially replace this route. The new 5/5A will not run in the evenings or Sundays.
  5. 19 – Walsall to Bloxwich - From 29 October 2023, this National Express West Midlands service will be operated by Chaserider.
  6. 20/21 – Bearwood to Oldbury - From 29 October 2023, this Bus service will operate with a revised timetable.
  7. 27 – Maypole to Cofton Hackett - From 5 November 2023, this National Express West Midlands service will be operating with some changes to the route and timetable. The route will be shortened to operate between Frankley, Holly Hill and Yardley Wood only. Changes will be made to the 2 (Birmingham to Maypole via Warstock) to provide an alternative service in this area. This service is also provided by National Express West Midlands.
  8. 45 – West Bromwich to Walsall via Yew Tree Estate - This service will continue to operate from 29 October 2023.
  9. 54/54A - World’s End to West Bromwich - From 5 November 2023, this National Express West Midlands service will operate with minor timetable changes.
  10. 54 - Perry Barr to Hamstead - From 5 November 2023, this Diamond service will operate with minor timetable changes.
  11. 60 – University of Warwick to Arena Retail Park via University Hospital - From 29 October 2023, this Stagecoach service will operate with some minor changes: Jaguar Land Rover will be served at peak* times only. West Midlands Bus on Demand is available to customers who wish to travel at other times of the day and on Sundays, will run from Stivichall to Arena Retail Park only, but will divert to serve Warwickshire Shopping Park.
  12. 61 - West Bromwich to Great Barr - From 5 November, this Diamond service will operate with minor timetable changes.
  13. 67A - Birmingham to Peddimore - This new service will operate from 8 October.
  14. 71 – Chelmsley Wood to Sutton Coldfield - From 29 October 2023, this Stagecoach service will be provided by a different operator.
  15. 71A - Sutton Coldfield to Chelmsley Wood - This new service will operate from 23 October.
  16. 74 – Walsall to Gillity Village - From 29 October 2023, this Diamond Bus service will be operated by Walsall Community Transport.
  17. 88 – Stourbridge to Norton - From 2 October 2023, this Kev’s Cars & Coaches service will be operated by Diamond Bus.
  18. 89 – West Bromwich to Birmingham via Cape Hill - From 5 November 2023, this National Express West Midlands service will be operating with some changes to the route and timetable. Buses will terminate early and no longer operate through to Birmingham City Centre.
  19. 96 – Kingstanding to Birmingham Airport via Erdington - From 22 October 2023, this Diamond Bus service will be operated by National Express West Midlands before 6:30pm. From this date, there will be some minor timetable changes to improve connections with the National Express West Midlands X12 service at Chelmsley Wood for onward travel to Birmingham airport.
  20. 169 - Kings Heath to Solihull - This Stagecoach service will operate with minor timetable changes.
  21. 530 – Wolverhampton to Rocket Pool via Bilston - From 29 October 2023, this Banga Buses service will no longer be operating after 5:30pm. On Sundays, this service will be operated by National Express West Midlands. The service will still be operated by Banga Buses from Monday to Saturday.
  22. A7/A8 – South Solihull Circulars via Knowle, Dorridge, Hockley Heath Blythe Valley & Cheswick Green - From 29 October 2023, this Landflight service will operate with some changes:
  • Sunday buses will operate between Solihull and Hockley Heath via Dorridge only. Alternative Sunday services are available:
  • For Blythe Valley Park: A9 - Blythe Valley Park to Kingshurst via Solihull, Olton (operated by Stagecoach)
  • For Cheswick Green: A5 - Cheswick Green to Solihull via Dickens Heath (operated by Landflight)

23. A10 – Chelmsley Wood / Crane Park to Solihull - From 29 October 2023, this Landflight service will have minor timetable and route alterations. Digby Drive in Marston Drive will no longer be served due to difficulties with parked vehicles.

What did Transport for West Midlands say about the changes to the bus services?

Pete Bond, director of integrated transport services for TfWM, said: “Buses are the backbone of our public transport network, enabling people to get to work, education and training opportunities, visit hospitals and health services or enjoy a trip to the shops, a hobby or a day or night out with friends and family.

“They are also an essential part of plans to decarbonise our transport and reduce traffic congestion, improve our air quality and grow our region’s economy. That is why it was imperative we both put the extra funding into preserving our network and review value for money for taxpayers on what we are providing already.

National Express West Midlands busesNational Express West Midlands buses
National Express West Midlands buses | National Express West Midlands

“We have given ourselves time and must now get to work with our partners to develop a long-term sustainable future for our bus services. In the meantime, we are, with our operators and council partners, continuing to invest in new infrastructure, including a new bus station at Dudley and more electric and hydrogen buses to further improve the service to passengers.”

You can see the forthcoming changes to services, including suggested alternative routes, on TfWM website.

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