PETITIONING residents are up in arms over plans to run buses through their quiet streets.
They fear pollution, congestion and road safety problems and accuse the authorities of ignoring their concerns – despite a petition with more than 100 signatures.
Residents in the eastern side of Hillfield are fighting Transport for West Midlands’ (TfWM) plan to re-route the S2 bus service along Alderminster Road.
The group is demanding a ‘proper consultation’ and a public debate.
They say the unwanted buses will ‘invade’ the residential area already well served by public transport.
The group has been out in force, flying a banner which states: ‘Say no to 50 buses per day’.
Group leader Martin Leach said: “Many residents are unhappy about the underhand, non-consultative and obstructive manner in which TfWM has operated.
“TfWM has been bombarded with written complaints from residents and failed to extend the courtesy of a reply to any.
“It has ignored our concerns and failed to notify any of the affected residents directly.
“TfWM has provided no real data as to why the service is to be re-routed despite repeated requests from residents and a 100-plus petition.
“Alderminster Road is already exceptionally well served by buses within a minute’s walk and we fail to see why it is necessary to have buses plough along the road which is regularly used by playing children, running groups, cyclists, families, dog-walkers and rambling groups.”
TfWM was created by the West Midlands Combined Authority (WMCA) to co-ordinate investment to improve the region’s transport infrastructure.
It unveiled its proposals to change the route on its website on September 26 and gave residents only 18 days to respond to the consultation.
The group says a small exhibition was put on display in Solihull for six hours on a week day in October, when most residents were at work.
TfWM has also withdrawn the S5 bus route which ran along Monkspath Hall Road and served many more residents than this S2 proposal would, the group claims.
It is demanding a public meeting to debate the matter with all interested and affected parties, so every voice can be heard.
Councillor Joe Tildesley said: “From what I have seen, the residents’ concerns have been seriously ignored by TfWM in failing to discuss matters with the Solihull residents and I am very much in support of the demand for such a meeting”.
TfWM says the changes are part of a review of passenger usage, which considered requests from councillors and customers.
The network changes could be introduced as early as February.
A TfWM spokesperson said: “The consultation followed concerns raised by people in the area about the lack of nearby public transport.
“We found there were a number of properties, including a care home, that fell outside our access standards for distance to the nearest bus stop.
“The consultation was effective in understanding local concerns and showed the majority in favour of the proposed new service. This would see 11 buses a day using the road which our tests show is suitable for a single decker bus.
“We understand the concerns of those against the bus service and the aspirations of those in favour and will therefore work closely with the bus operator while monitoring residents’ feedback.”