6th Apr, 2020

School service changes to counteract new 144 bus timetable problems 'will help pupils in Rubery but not Longbridge or Northfield'

Tristan Harris 26th Jan, 2020 Updated: 26th Jan, 2020

BUS OPERATOR First Worcester has made some changes to one of its school services to help children who need to get to schools in Bromsgrove when the new 144 timetable comes into force tomorrow.

But campaigners say that while it may help pupils living in Rubery, it still does nothing to help those travelling from Northfield and Longbridge.

The S45 will leave Alvechurch, outside the Red Lion, at 7.45am, arriving at Barnt Green (Sandhills Road) at 7.53am. It will then go to Rubery (outside St Chad’s Church) at 8.05am, the Rednal Island (Rose Hill) at 8.12am, the Forest Inn (Lickey End) at 8.21am, Bromsgrove All Saints Road at 8.25am, Bromsgrove Bus Station (for North Bromsgrove High School) at 8.28am and arrive at South Bromsgrove High School at 8.35am.

The afternoon service will leave South Bromsgrove High School at 3.35pm and Bromsgrove Bus Station at 3.39pm, repeating its morning journey in reverse.

144 drivers had been giving out flyers on Friday, detailing the S45’s new timetable for tomorrow.

One parent told us: “This will work for those not living in Northfield and Longbridge – I really do hope they consider the longer term options for these areas.”

The Standard had been contacted by a number of parents, including Paul Dugay whose daughter and others who use the 144 from Northfield, Longbridge and Rubery to get to schools in Bromsgrove.

From tomorrow the half-hourly weekday service between Bromsgrove and Birmingham will be reduced to an hourly one, including at peak times.

The current 27 services to Birmingham from the town and the 27 the other way will be reduced to 15 from Bromsgrove to Birmingham and 12 in the opposite direction.

Half the services from Worcester which usually continue to Birmingham before turning around and coming back will terminate at Bromsgrove.

Paul’s daughter and others get the bus which leaves Smallbrook Queensway at 7.30am, gets to Longbridge around 7.50am and to Bromsgrove around 8.25am.

That service is one of the ones being cut meaning she would have to get the 7am from Birmingham and would get to Bromsgrove for 7.50am – over an hour before school starts.

The 8am would only give her four minutes to get from the bus station to North Bromsgrove High, provided it was on time.

The Standard has been inundated by 144 users about the impact the changes would have on their daily commutes to work or children’s journeys to school, with some people having at least an hour each day added to the time they spend getting to and from their destinations.

Nigel Eggleton, managing director at First Worcester, told us this week the reason for reducing the frequency of the Salt Road route between Birmingham and Bromsgrove was to try and address reliability problems experienced by bus drivers because of ‘regular pockets of congestion’ in Birmingham.

“In addition, we have been monitoring the level of demand between the four main locations along the route being Worcester, Droitwich, Bromsgrove and Birmingham, with the latter two locations consistently having a lot less people travelling between them.”

He added since the changes had been publicised, a few people had contacted the company with concerns about timings to Bromsgrove schools and other locations in the morning and afternoon ‘peak times of the day’.

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