Press releases

15.12.2008

New bus network for Solihull

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The people of Solihull are to benefit from a new, improved and easy to understand bus network which provides better links to the borough's rail services and key centres from Sunday January 25, 2009.

National Express West Midlands, Solihull Council and transport authority Centro have been working in partnership to transform the network so that services take people to the places they want to go, when they want to go and link more effectively with connecting buses and other modes of transport.

The changes are the result of demands from passengers and businesses for a more modern and effective transport system.

This was supported by research which showed that the network could be improved to better serve existing and potential bus users, and highlighted that the main priorities for passengers are high frequency and accessible, punctual services.

A successful consultation process took place on the plans for the new network during October.

Centro, Solihull Council, National Express West Midlands and other local bus operators teamed up to look carefully at and address any questions and issues raised by councillors, local residents and other stakeholders on the draft proposals.

A number of changes have now been made to the bus services that make up the new network in response to this feedback, including replacing the number 4 service in Cheswick Green.

An alternative to the 38 service has also been provided, with a new link between Olton and Lyndon to Hobs Moat shops, and links to Shirley where passengers can connect to services to Birmingham International Airport and the NEC.

From Sunday 25 January, many people across Solihull will have access to more regular bus services that complement each other, and new cross town routes are being introduced to benefit people who want to travel further than just their local centre.

There will also be improvements to several evening and Sunday services and better links to Solihull and Shirley rail stations.

To make using and identifying Solihull services even simpler, many bus numbers will be changing to begin with the letter S, and new easy to use timetables and maps will be produced.

Solihull Council Cabinet Member for Transport, Highways and Infrastructure, Councillor Ted Richards concluded:""We have worked with National Express and Centro to make sure that local people will get the best bus service possible. We know that the review means some people will have changes to their current services, but we are confident that passengers will experience an improved, modernised bus network.""

Alex Perry, Operations Director for National Express Bus and Coach said: "We are committed to our customers throughout Solihull and any changes we make have been aimed at simplifying the network, providing easier access and improving links to key destinations, including better connections to rail stations like Solihull and Shirley.

"We have also ensured with the changes that no one is left without a service although they may need to use a different route. The changes will be positive for a majority of people."

Chairman of Centro, Councillor Gary Clarke added: "If we are going to provide Solihull with an effective, world class public transport system we need to put passengers first and make sure they have a bus network that fulfils their needs and reflects today's 24/7 society.

"We hope that by working in partnership with the council, bus operators and other local stakeholders to transform the Solihull network, we will provide the modern and regular services, better connections with alternative transport modes and cleaner, greener, more efficient buses that provide a real and attractive alternative to the car."

Cllr Jon Hunt, lead member for bus and highways at Centro: said: "Our vision is to transform bus travel in the West Midlands by providing a streamlined and effective bus network. Working closely with passengers, local authorities, operators and other stakeholders is vital.

"In April this year, Centro completed a similar bus network review with our partners to modernise services in Dudley. This has already led to an increase in passengers. We hope that the network changes in Solihull will bring similar advantages to the borough and the wider West Midlands."

Leaflets summarising the changes are being distributed to every home in and around the Solihull borough starting this week (December 15, 2008) and paper copies of timetables will be available in the New Year when a series of exhibitions will be held at different locations throughout the area. For more information please visit www.networkwestmidlands.com/solihull

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