ANGRY bus users have contacted The Standard about changes to services between Bromsgrove and Redditch after the ‘express’ X3 bus was replaced by one which takes a longer route.
Previously, the 143 operated between Bromsgrove and Redditch, going via Hewell Park, Aston Fields, Finstall and Charford – a journey time of more than half an hour.
The X3 offered a fast alternative and took under 20 minutes to travel between the two towns’ bus stations.
Now those wanting to get from Bromsgrove to Redditch will have the option of the 42 and 43 which follow more or less the same route as the 143. The 43, which goes to Charford, takes 30 minutes and the 42, which goes more directly from the railway station to the bus station, takes 30 minutes. The 42 also carries on to Kidderminster as the X3 used to.
One commuter said: “The X3 was an amazing service if you wanted to travel between Bromsgrove and Redditch.
“It was a very direct and straightforward route and if people needed to get to other areas on the outskirts of the two towns, they had the option of the 143.
“Now both routes are almost the same.”
Another added: “This is deeply disappointing for a lot of commuters who live in Bromsgrove and work in Redditch and vice versa.
“The new services will mean more than half an hour a day added to my daily commute, even more when there’s traffic.
“The X3 also made getting to Kidderminster from Redditch a lot quicker but now the journey time between the two towns is close to an hour whereas before it was only 45 minutes.”
A spokesperson for Diamond Bus said: “The changes were undertaken following a review of the previous services 143, 149 and X3 with the aim of improving reliability and connectivity and employing our resources in a way that improves travel opportunities for existing and potential new passengers.
“With the opening of the new Bromsgrove Railway Station and the adjoining bus interchange, there is the desire to improve connectivity to the railway station by public transport and allow people to interchange between bus and train.
“As part of these changes service X3 was replaced by service 42 and diverted to serve the Bromsgrove Railway Station Interchange, thus providing a frequent service linking the Railway Station with the centre of town.
“This will become even more relevant when the increased train frequency operated by electric trains commences in 2017.”
She added the 42 and 43 timetables had been designed to ensure there were services every half-an-hour as previously although there were two an hour, some services left within ten minutes of each other.
“Service 43 has also been diverted via the grounds of The Princess of Wales Community Hospital following the decision by First to remove their service.”
She added despite some journeys taking slightly longer, the overall effect was a positive one.