PLANS have been unveiled for a new electric community shuttle bus service linking Bromsgrove Railway Station with the town centre and residential areas after the council ringfenced £250,000 in this year’s budget.
Travelling between the station – which is a mile out of town in Aston Fields – has been a long-standing problem for commuters, especially when delays or cancellations mean bus and train times do not marry up.
The new bus timetable will be synchronised with the trains’ minimising journey times and, using a demand responsive transport system, people will be able to request buses when they need them.
An app will be created for the scheme and there will also be touch screens at the railway station for people to summon the bus.
The system, based on a similar one successfully operating in Milton Keynes, will be the first of its kind in Worcestershire.
And if the pilot scheme in Bromsgrove goes well, it is hoped it will be rolled out to other parts of the county.
In order to get the system up-and-running as soon as possible, low emission buses will be used to start with and then they will be replaced with electric models as they become available.
As well as the vehicles, the cash will also put in place the infrastructure needed, such as the charging points, touch screen and app.
Coun Adam Kent, Deputy Leader and Portfolio Holder for Planning and Regeneration on Bromsgrove Council, said when using public transport, research showed the first and last mile were key in reducing journey times and that was the area the new scheme would address.
“This is an issue that is happening now so we want this scheme in place as soon as we can.
“Good connectivity between the district’s commercial and residential centres is paramount to the Covid recovery strategy and future economic growth.
“The announcement will be the first step of many in our ‘demand responsive transport’ pilot, which could also see the council investing in next generation green shelters for the railway station – a first for the UK which will utilising solar power.
“We will also be looking to incorporate real time information displays into new designs as well other sensor technology.”
Coun Kent vowed to do all he could to bring more greener and innovative modes of public transport to Bromsgrove after the district narrowly missed out on becoming the UK’s first all-electric bus town.
District council leader Coun Karen May said: “Through investing in green travel, we also maintain our commitment to improving air quality in the district.”