BUS route changes in Solihull have been welcomed by a community group for the elderly amid criticism from campaigners.
Transport for West Midlands (TfWM) unveiled proposed changes in bus routes which could be introduced next month.
Campaigner and resident Trevor Eames has responded to claims reported in the Observer that a new bus route through the eastern side of Hillfield is unwanted.
West Midlands Pensioners’ Convention (WMPC) transport secretary, Mr Eames, says the elderly and less able need better access to buses.
As we reported, some Hillfield residents are fighting TfWM’s plan to re-route the S2 bus service along Alderminster Road.
The Alderminster Road Action Group (ARAG) fear pollution, congestion and road safety problems and accuse the authorities of ignoring their concerns – and a petition with more than 100 signatures.
They say the unwanted buses will ‘invade’ the residential area already well served by public transport.
But Mr Eames said: “We all of course hopefully support good access to public transport for all reduced use and congestion caused by the private car – especially where that can be linked to the rail station interchange.
“This section of Hillfield is not well served by buses, particularly for the elderly and less able.
“A request was submitted some months ago on behalf of the Pensioners’ Convention through the TfWM consultation process for this re-routing to meet a local need with the roadway’s suitability assessed.
“It’s also not true to suggest representations made by residents have not been considered particularly from Alderminster Road where the proposed route has been fully assessed, and was supported by a larger petition from over 200 local residents plus letters from organisations representing the elderly and less mobile members of the community.”
The WMPC is a campaign group which fights for rights of the elderly.
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 last year and gave residents only 18 days to respond to the consultation – drawing criticism.
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.”
Solihull Council and the TfWM have agreed a compromise given the weight of opinion on both sides.
The S2 re-route will only travel down on Alderminster Road between 9.30am and 3pm Monday to Friday.