144 bus changes dominate again in another bumper Bromsgrove and Droitwich Standard double letters page....... - The Bromsgrove Standard

144 bus changes dominate again in another bumper Bromsgrove and Droitwich Standard double letters page.......

Bromsgrove Editorial 22nd Apr, 2022   0

WE HAVE been inundated with letters from readers about First Bus Worcester’s decision to terminate the 144 at Catshill from next month.

It shows the strength of public feeling on the changes – thank you for all your letters – we have printed as many as we have had space for. Here are a few of them.


Councillors and MP need to help save service

A LETTER to Councillors Simon Geraghty, Alan Amos and Peter McDonald and to MP Sajid Javid and First Bus Worcester’s Nigel Eggerton.

I am writing to you over the distressing announcement that First Worcester intend to terminate the 144 Worcester to Birmingham bus service at Catshill and request your involvement to prevent this.

As OAP’s living in Rubery my wife and I are reliant on the 144 bus to access essential services and amenities in Worcester, Bromsgrove and Birmingham.

This is especially so as for over three years I have not driven due to failing eyesight during which time we have observed that public transport is a lifeline for the young, disabled, and elderly sectors.

The Government policy of improving connectivity highlighted in the last few days with the much heralded announcement of the Bus Back Better Fund which the Transport Secretary Grant Shapps advised as ‘Buses are the most popular way of getting around in this country – but for too long people outside of London have had a raw deal’.

Surely if the Birmingham leg of the 144 service is deemed uneconomical it would be wiser to terminate at Longbridge therefore allowing connectivity to bus and rail services serving Birmingham and the West Midlands.

Also, access to the new Bournville College and shopping centre.

Rubery represents a major contributor to the Worcestershire community charge and as such should retain its essential transport link.

Your help in retaining an already greatly reduced 144 bus service will be much appreciated by all.

Martin and Pauline Smith


Why carry out survey on bus use during pandemic?

I AM absolutely furious about these changes.

What idiots carried out a survey on how many people were using the 144 over the last 12 months?

We were in the middle of a pandemic for goodness sake and people weren’t travelling due to a lockdown, vulnerability or just being careful.

This needs reversing and now.

Kath Field


Not everyone has a car and railway station is too far away

IT WOULD be a shame for this service between Bromsgrove and Birmingham to cease.

I am sure there are many workers who use the service to commute throughout the day, not everyone has a car and the railway station at Bromsgrove is not in a very convenient place to the High Street and central Bromsgrove and of course that train line is only accessible from one side of Birmingham.

As a pensioner I personally really appreciate the service and enjoy shopping in Bromsgrove, and like many other pensioners, have family living in Bromsgrove (and vice versa Birmingham) and as I don’t have a car this service helps me to visit the family and baby-sit for the grandchildren.

I, and no doubt many others, hope there will be a change of direction on this matter. Please help.

Mrs I Thompson

How is this ‘transforming travel’?

I TOO will be totally snookered when Firsts cut the 144 service from Catshill to Brum (this is hardly First ‘Transforming Travel’ (Their caption).

I mean how is this transforming travel? It’s a very long walk from Rubery to Catshill.

A century ago the dearly and sadly missed BMMO/Midland Red started this service and guess where it terminated then?

It terminated at the Longbridge traffic Island, Austin works.

So First can save money in these dreadful times we’re all going through, why cant they terminate the 144 at the Longbridge Island (with a connection to NXWM’s buses or the railway station)?

Or at the very least Rubery (with a connection to the NXWM 63).

I for one, cannot afford to run a car, trains are too expensive.

I always use PT/buses and the 144 to Worcestershire and in between, regularly, as it’s so convenient for me.

Please, us mere mortals, need the 144, Birmingham/Longbridge Island to Worcs! Plus services in Worcs and Herefordshire.

A congestion charge is much needed in towns and cities – especially Worcs and Hereford, thus plough the proceeds into local public transport and help save the planet.

But that won’t get going until we see all the local MPs, councillors using PT – full time too. They need to lead the way etc.

Yes I have put in a complaint to First, WCC, BCC. But I doubt very much if I hear owt from First, they don’t give a fig about passengers, only pounds.

Don’t know why they don’t sell up in Worcestershire – as they did in Hereford, Kidderminster and Redditch – bring back the Midland Red!

I often wondered why the Park n Ride in Worcester failed.

Versa York, it works up there, but Yorkshire folk are totally thrifty, not like in Worcester/Hereford, with ever more vehicles and SUVs, Hansdworth Tractors.

Then there’s the housing that’s being built on Worcestershire green belt, ever more vehicles, thus more gridlock.

But alas, ever more bus service cuts.

Where will it end?

We’re all doomed!

I’ll get down from my soapbox now – bet you’re relieved!

Rob N

144 has been gradually reduced over the years

THE AXING of the 144 is extremely frustrating.

I have relied on this bus service for over 20 years.

It has gradually been reduced in frequency over the years and the 143 which ran a similar route to the original 144 has been cut completely.

The services to Birmingham which were every 15 minutes are now every hour.

We are constantly told we need to be greener which means getting out of our cars and this action is not helping.

There will be adults and children who commute over the county boundary to work or go to school.

There will be older people who may rely on the service for attending hospital appointments.

The removal of this service is not something people can easily replace.

It potentially leads to the necessity for further public transport steps in someone’s journey eg driving the car to the station, to catch a train, rather than just catching a bus, catching multiple buses rather than one. This may take more time and be more expensive. It may just drive people back to using their cars.

Nigel Eggleton talks about how the pandemic has altered working patterns but it does not mean everyone commuting over the boundary has stopped commuting over the boundary.

He also refers to other modes of travel for getting around, I am guessing he is talking about the available bikes and scooters.

I’m not sure these will be replacing the 144. I don’t think many people are scooting from Bromsgrove to Birmingham, especially not in the rain. I imagine it is simply not profitable enough.

I understand there is a degree of overlap with services in Birmingham but it is no use just removing services without considering the practicalities for people who regularly use the service in a network of public transport which is not very well connected.

The 144 is quicker than the 60s buses which makes it more attractive for a lot of commuters.

The 145 Diamond service which goes to between Longbridge and Droitwich does not even stop in Rubery but only at Morrisons which is a bit of a walk from the centre of Rubery – of course we could catch a 63 there! It does not stop at Rubery Morrisons very often.

Sajid Javid in the latest leaflet through my door is talking about ‘revolutionising public transport with enhancements to bus routes’ and adds: ‘Locally I’ve supported the county council’s £86million bid to further upgrade public transport across Worcestershire’.

These promises are not readily apparent in First Direct’s actions.

Also this revolution surely doesn’t mean stopping at the boundary or before the boundary as Rubery is still in Worcestershire.

I’m guessing this could be an opportunity for us to see whether Sajid’s words are just words or whether he might be actually capable of taking action and helping people.

Sheena Leek

Maybe reduce frequency to save service……..

I DON’T rely on the service for work but I think it is disgusting that this service to Birmingham is to cease shortly.

It was bad enough when the service was diverted via Catshill which meant people along the A38 direct to Bromsgrove had no service.

Maybe the service could continue to operate at less frequent intervals after peak times.

People need to be able to rely on bus services to go from city to city for business and pleasure.

Veronica Hunt

Terminating 144 in Longbridge would give users more options

I MEET friends from Birmingham and want to know also how are people going to get to work or hospital appointments?

If we could go as far as Longbridge and pick up a Birmingham bus there that would be a bit better.

Pension people – lots don’t drive. What has Bromsgrove got to offer? No cinema, Artrix gone what about schoolchildren? How do they get to schools?

Sajid Javid could you please get us some form of transport? Catshill is no good as we cannot get to any big shops.

Mrs Bird

Not surprised by bus cut – use it or lose it

AS I use to drive for first in Worcester, I am not surprised that it is been cut.

If you don’t use it lose it.

Common sense. As I use to drive in London for first.

People out of London must realise that they will not have a high level of service in this part of the country.

Who is going to pay for this?

John Asplen

Loss of service will cause son huge issues

MY SON and a number of other children use this service for school.

He’s now at uni and uses this service to get there and back.

The loss of the service will cause him huge issues.

Mandy Williams

So many rely on the 144

I AM writing to express my disgust at the ridiculous decision for axing the 144 from Birmingham to Worcester.

Many people rely on that bus for a variety of reasons, myself included.

If First Worcester does axe the route, then it needs to be replaced by another company at least from Birmingham to Bromsgrove.

Leaving passengers with nothing is NOT an option. Trains cannot be guaranteed to be relied on.

I would urge local residents to email or write to their local MP that serves the 144 bus route to see what can be done.

Something MUST be done.

Doing nothing is NOT an option.

I will be writing to the Transport Secretary to highlight this issue.

Ian Baker

Bonfire decision needs a rethink

BROMSGROVE District Council – I note your decision to not hold a bonfire and firework event this year at Sanders Park due to ‘climate warming’.

Like your Tory Party you obviously do no want people to be warm.

Ceasing the bonfire will encourage people to have hundreds in back gardens around the district – contributing even greater to global warming.

Additionally the increase in unregulated firework displays in back gardens with subsequent burn injuries (if Bromsgrove citizens can afford fireworks given the increased cost of even living).

Please think again.

Mike Marshall

Rock Hill

BMA doc is right to warn about shortage

I AGREE with Doctor Stephen Millar, BMA West Midlands.

Apart from the anticipated shortage of doctors to the staggering extent of 46,300, it is also sadly expected that one in three GPs under the age of 50 will seek retirement over the next five years with the obvious profound implications this has for the standard of care to GP practice clients/patients!

Due in no small part to the staggering impact of Omicron/Covid 19 on healthcare provision, we are already at a stage where we no longer have a personal choice as to who our actual GP preferred option is and it can only get worse.

I’m deeply concerned that in NHS hospitals, multi-occupancy general wards are still being used with the implications this has for not only basic privacy but also the very real risk of cross infection. In Iceland, China and Japan, either partitions are used or large pods to protect patients.

The NHS can fund emergency mobile X-ray and MRI scan units plus security officers to regulate who is actually allowed into hospital and quite rightly so but patient comfort, privacy and security from cross infection seems to come a poor last.

I accept these are difficult times for the NHS and badly wounded refugees from Ukraine will also place additional demands on Britain’s health service, as the battle between Baron Vladimir Putin and Baron Volodymyr Zelensky is inclined to intensify over the coming months.

Hopefully we wont get too involved beyond medical and humanitarian aid?

One thing is certain though, delivering safe care and medical aid will be very ‘challenging’ as pointed out by Doctor Stephen Millar MD BMA West Midlands.

John A Ridarta



IT IS great to see the Pride of Longbridge Rally back this weekend.

As well as the pandemic-forced two-year gap, we also sadly lost Lord Austin’s Office from Longbridge to Gaydon last year.

So while we gather this weekend to celebrate south Birmingham’s world famous motoring history, we also need to push for a lasting legacy or museum to mark this proud part of our past.

Longbridge is currently going through an impressive regeneration but the heritage must not be forgotten.

We welcome your letters…..

What pressing issues do you feel need addressing in Bromsgrove, Rubery, Droitwich and South Birmingham? Send us your views to [email protected] or [email protected]

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