144A bus service to be extended to Northfield and Birmingham's QE Hospital - The Bromsgrove Standard

144A bus service to be extended to Northfield and Birmingham's QE Hospital

Bromsgrove Editorial 16th Mar, 2023 Updated: 16th Mar, 2023   0

THE 144A bus route introduced when First Worcester terminated the long-running 144 in Catshill last year, is set to be extended.

From April 16, the route, which currently runs between Bromsgrove to Longbridge, via Rubery, will also serve Northfield and Birmingham’s Queen Elizabeth Hospital. And the bus will run more frequently and on Sundays – up until now, it operated Monday to Saturday every 70 minutes.

After a review of the route and a tender process, National Express West Midlands (NXWM) will continue to run the service when the changes come into force next month.

The new-look service will also run along the route of the current 20 (directly along Bristol Road).

From Longbridge (Bristol Road South), buses will journey along Lickey Road, Edgewood Road and Cliff Rock Road (towards Bromsgrove), Leach Green Lane (from Bromsgrove), Leach Green Lane (northern end), New Road and then to the same route as the current 144A between Rubery and Bromsgrove.

The decision by First Worcester in April last year left many bus users, commuters and school pupils with no way of getting to where they needed to be.

NXWM stepped in and Worcestershire County Council funded the replacement from Bromsgrove bus station to Longbridge which launched on May 3, 2022.

Despite the lifeline, many were critical about it finishing too early and not running on Sundays.

The Standard was also contacted by people unable to get to work, including NHS staff and patients needing to travel to the QE,

It was started in May on a trial basis to test its viability and the service has proved popular.

The bus is also included in NXWM’s usual ‘Tap and Cap’ pricing format for Birmingham buses, meaning it will cost users £2.40 for one journey and a maximum of £4 in total after the second ‘tap’ for as many NXWM buses used on that day (Daysaver ticket). ‘A three-day ‘Tap and Cap’ costs £11.50 and a seven-day one is £15.

The cost was a lot cheaper than First Worcester’s usual 144 fares which were around £6 for a Bromsgrove to Birmingham tour at the time the route was curtailed.

Coun Mike Rouse, Worcestershire County Council’s Cabinet Member for Highways and Transport, said: “I’m delighted that the future of this much-loved service has been secured for people in Bromsgrove.

“This new service will run every hour, rather than every 70 minutes as it is now, which is great news for bus users.

“We also expect this will help to grow patronage further and make it a far more viable option for the majority of passengers.”

And he told the Standard: “We have listened to passenger feedback and acted accordingly, delivering the key changes those who rely on this service have been asking us for.”

“These changes have come about thanks to the passengers who use this service, combined with indications of potential for growth in passenger demand following the pandemic.

“I am also grateful to Councillors Karen May and Adrian Kriss for their persistence in making the case.”

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