PARENTS have hit out over changes to the 144 bus which they say will mean their children will have difficulty getting to school on time.
The claims have prompted bosses at operator First Worcester to review the peak time service alterations due to come into force when the new timetable is implemented on Monday, January 27.
Paul Dugay whose daughter and others use the service from Northfield, Longbridge and Rubery to get to and from schools in Bromsgrove said the service was generally reliable and busy and he could not understand why some services would no longer be serving the areas in the morning and afternoon.
From Monday the half-hourly weekday service between Bromsgrove and Birmingham is due to 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.
Paul added: “We appreciate there is a commercial angle to this but this is seemingly one of the busier daily buses and a decision like this at least needs to be justified to the customers.”
He welcomed First’s pledge to look at the peak times.
Nigel Eggleton, managing director at First Worcester said 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’.
He said First was looking into the situation with ‘the possibility of making a few adjustments in due course’.
Paul said: “Even if some services could continue from Bromsgrove to Northfield or Longbridge and turn around to provide buses going back the other way, that would be something – then they would not get caught up in city centre traffic.
“First have previously promoted their buses and their environmental benefits – these changes could see many people can get back in their cars.”
* WHAT do you think of the 144 bus changes coming into force this weekend? Will you be affected by them? Email your views to firstname.lastname@example.org