Wednesday, August 27, 2014

National Express agree to restore 31 bus to Olton Boulevard

I am delighted to be able to report that National Express West Midlands have agreed to return the 31 bus to the route along Olton Boulevard East and Gospel Lane. Service 1 will continue along Pool Farm Road and Pollard Road.

Cllr Stewart Stacey, Cllr Jess Philips and I had a tremendous response to our petition - hundreds of people supported a return to the original route. We have had complaints from residents along Olton Boulevard, protesting the loss of any bus service and we have had complaints from Pool Farm Road about 12 buses an hour (one count saw 17 buses in an hour) travelling down that narrow road. I have even had complaints from businesses in the Village, who have reported a drop in footfall that they directly attribute to the loss of the bus service.

We consulted local residents a few weeks ago on an alternate plan put forward by NXWM to run all services along Dolphin Lane and Thornfield Road, but overwhelmingly, the response was in favour of the original route.

I met CENTRO and NXWM last week and we had a full discussion of all the issues around the route. The outcome was that NXWM have agreed to reverse their original decision.

The exact timetables have yet to be confirmed, but I expect a 20 minute daytime frequency on both routes once the services return on the 26th October. It is worth noting that the Service 1 only operates between the city centre and Acocks Green Village in the evenings.

The level of public support was crucial in persuading National Express to change their minds. so thank you to everyone for your backing - it gave real force to our arguments. Thanks are also due to CENTRO for their support and to NXWM for correcting their mistake.