CHANGES to bus service around Solihull have been slammed by passengers and councillors.
Earlier this week Transport for West Midlands (TfWM) brought in changes across Knowle, Hockley Heath, Acocks Green, Cheswick Green and Shirley in a bid to provide services to ‘areas most in need.’
Dave Pinwell from Knowle said: “In Knowle, Dorridge and Bentley Heath this will be third change to routes and timetables this year and the second time that the routes are being renumbered.
“TfWM claims that the changes are ‘improvements because they have listened to passengers’.
“Yes, there are some helpful tweaks, but in reality, these are cost savings.
“Two buses are being removed from running the current rural services and redeployed to serve other areas elsewhere.”
In February a number of changes came into force but following a number of complaints TfWM held further consultations over the summer to find out how passengers thought.
Councillor Ade Adeyemo claims the consultation was a ‘sham’.
He said: “The consultation was advertised as ‘East Birmingham and North Solihull’, with a ‘public stakeholder session’ arranged in Kingshurst.
“In fact, a whole raft of changes is proposed to bus services in the south of the borough.
“Most of these changes were not well publicised and many bus users will not be aware of the changes until they come into force at the beginning of September.
“This so-called consultation has been a massive waste of everyone’s time.
“Ultimately this sham of a consultation only serves to erode what little faith Solihull’s bus users have in National Express West Midlands and TfWM.”
He has written to Andy Street, the West Midlands Mayor, calling for a review into the consultation.
A TfWM spokesperson said: “TfWM consulted extensively over changes to subsidised Solihull bus services during 2018 when a new operator, Landflight, was appointed.
“These changes, which were designed to ensure that the public funded bus services are provided to areas most in need, were introduced in February this year.
“Having run the services for several months, viewed the passenger and operational data and feedback and undertaken a further passenger engagement exercise, it was concluded that further refinements were needed.
“TfWM has undertaken an information exercise for passengers over the summer ahead of the changes being introduced to meet the new school term time.
“The changes include:
* A doubling of buses on service A12 between Solihull and Acocks Green.
* Introduction of frequent direct links between Hockley Heath and Knowle
* A new direct link between Cheswick Green and Shirley also covering Light Hall School.
* A new direct link from Solihull (including Hampton-in-Arden & Meriden) to Stratford Upon Avon.
* Later evening services between Solihull and Coventry.
* Faster journey times on the South Solihull Circular Route (A7/A8) including Knowle
* Improved Links to Arden School, in Knowle, from Cheswick Green and Hockley Heath.
“The level of public funding for bus services in Solihull has been maintained and we are determined to provide the best possible bus service for local people.”