Birmingham to Bromsgrove bus route rescued from the ax after 108 years

A bus route that has connected Birmingham and Bromsgrove for more than 100 years has been rescued from the ax. The U-turn comes after more than 2,000 people signed a petition opposing the cut.

Brake pits for the Birmingham section of the No 144 service were to be scrapped on Sunday (May 1) after driving for 108 years. The company that runs it said the number of passengers had dropped due to more people working from home.

But now a new operator has stepped in and will run that part of the service for the next six months. The compromise, however, is that passengers using the new route will have to change bus twice.

Read more:Outrage over the Birmingham route to be abolished

144 was the only bus that ran between Bromsgrove and Birmingham city center via Rubery. It was part of the longer route from Malvern and Worcester, which had been running since 1914.

Operator First Bus Worcester announced last month that due to declining passenger numbers, service would cease at Catshill. This would mean that anyone wishing to travel between Bromsgrove and Rubery into Birmingham would have to go to Longbridge to get a bus, take the train or drive.

A petition was created by the locals, which attracted more than 2,000 signatures. Now the Worcestershire County Council – which is responsible for overseeing bus services – has said a short-term deal has been made with the National Express West Midlands (NXWM).

The new service will run between Bromsgrove, Catshill, Rubery and Longbridge and will replace the sections lost from the changes to First Bus’ 144 service. Passengers on 144 will be able to change buses at Bromsgrove Bus Station and travel on to Rubery and Longbridge, where they can connect to frequent services on to Birmingham.

It begins Tuesday, May 3 and runs every hour from Monday to Saturday. There will be no Sunday service. This will run for six months while the county council reviews the network and looks for a long-term solution.

Nigel Eggleton, CEO of First Worcester, defended their changes to the 144 service. Last week, he said it needed to be adjusted to reflect the changes in society due to the pandemic.

He said: “The Covid pandemic has changed many things, including people working from home, flexible work patterns, confidence in being around public places and the use of other forms of travel to get around and avoid congested places – all of this has had a impact on bus services in Worcester and across the country.

“Our 144 service has been established for many years and has served people very well, connecting Worcester with Droitwich, Bromsgrove, Catshill and Birmingham. But for over 12 months now we have transported very few people between Catshill and Birmingham, which has resulted in that we have to make this difficult decision to disconnect from Birmingham. “

* What do you think about the compromise? Are you using the 144 service and want to be affected? Please contact jane.tyler@reachplc with your views

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