West Midlands Bus Network Review(s)

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Alex 2901

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And now Solihull get the network review treatment... again, but this time for tendered services.
These are from the Sunday 24th February 2019.

Changes to operators only:
31 - currently NXWM
- new operator Landflight
82 - currently Diamond
- new operator Johnsons

Changes to routes
S2, S3 and S3W will be withdrawn.

S1 will be renumbered as 12
S11 will be renumbered as 11
Both services will operate hourly Monday to Saturday, and will interwork at Solihull Station (PVR of 1 vehicle). Both the 11 and 12 will be operated by Diamond, with a new Euro 6 vehicle due later.

New service 33 will replace the S3 between Solihull & Dickens Heath.
New service 34 will replace the S3W between Solihull, Dickens Heath, Tidbury Green, Whitlocks End, Maypole, Wythall & Inkford Brook (on some trips only)
Both services will operate hourly, with a Sunday service on the 33. Both the 33 and 34 will be operated by Landflight, with new Euro 6 Enviro200MMCs due later.

New services 78, 78E, 79 and 79E will replace the S2 between Solihull & Cheswick Green, and the S3 between Solihull and Hockley Heath.
The 78 will operate as an Anticlockwise circular, serving Blossomfield Road, Cheswick Green, Blythe Valley Business Park, Hockley Heath, Dorridge and returning to Solihull Town Centre via Widney Lane.
The 79 will operate as a Clockwise Circular, serving Widney Lane, Dorridge, Hockley Heath, Blythe Valley Business Park, Cheswick Green and returning to Solihull Town Centre via Blossomfield Road.
Both will operate hourly, with a Sunday service.
Short journeys to Cheswick Green will operate hourly, as 78Es. Return trips to Soihull Town Centre will operate as 79Es.
The 78/E, 79/E will be operated by Landflight, with new Euro 6 Enviro200MMCs due later.

New service 83 will replace the S3 between Solihull and Dorridge, via Knowle.
This will operate hourly, with a Sunday service. (PVR of 1 vehicle). The 83 will be operated by Landflight, with a new Euro 6 Enviro200MMC due later.

The 87 will be rerouted to serve the Jaguar Land Rover site at Fen End, and as a result will no longer serve Copt Heath.

The 88 will split into two services: 88 and 88A. The 88 will continue to operate along the current line of route, while new route 88A will operate along the current 87 route through Copt Heath. Each route will be every two hours, combining to be hourly between Solihull and Balsall Common. Both the 88 and 88A will be operated by Johnsons, with new Euro 6 vehicles due later.

Coventry's 42 (currently City to Coundon) will also be changed from the same date, with the route extending to Brownshill Green, along with a gap in service during the middle of the day, to allow a driver break. Saturday service will also be reduced. The 42 will now be operated by Diamond, with a new Euro 6 vehicle due later.

Where this leaves the S10, S15 and S16, I don't know. Maybe they'll be renumbered at a later date...

For anyone unaware, Landflight is the new (ish) name for Silverline, who have made what I can only describe as an amazing comeback, after almost 3 years of only running one route (the S10)...
 
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Bungle965

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For anyone unaware, Landflight is the new (ish) name for Silverline, who have made what I can only describe as an amazing comeback, after almost 3 years of only running one route (the S10)...
Hopefully they don't suffer from expanding too fast and quick like many others have done and end up suffering as a result.
Sam
 

Alex 2901

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Hopefully they don't suffer from expanding too fast and quick like many others have done and end up suffering as a result.
Sam

Let's hope that they don't, as they're actually a decent company from experience.
The cynic in me does wonder if getting 20 drivers before these services start may be a stretch though...
Not too worried about the vehicles, as I'm pretty sure they still have most of their Euro 5 E200s parked up after they lost the Jaguar Land Rover contract last year.
 

Bungle965

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Let's hope that they don't, as they're actually a decent company from experience.
The cynic in me does wonder if getting 20 drivers before these services start may be a stretch though...
Not too worried about the vehicles, as I'm pretty sure they still have most of their Euro 5 E200s parked up after they lost the Jaguar Land Rover contract last year.
The West Midlands has quite a few shady companies so it's good to hear that these are a decent company.
Perhaps that was their motivation in getting into tendered services, they found themselves suddenly with spare vehicles earning no money.
Sam
 

Alex 2901

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The West Midlands has quite a few shady companies so it's good to hear that these are a decent company.
Perhaps that was their motivation in getting into tendered services, they found themselves suddenly with spare vehicles earning no money.
Sam

Until 2014 or 2015, they had a number of tendered routes (36 Sparkbrook to Heartlands Hospital, S9 Blythe Valley Shuttle, S10 Solihull to Cranes Park, as well the old 40, I think). But they lost the 36 and S9, with the 40 being merged with the 99, and so, I assume, focussed on the JLR contract, and the fairly lucrative coachwork. Does make me wonder if the decision to not award Diamond most of these stems from local complaints, and general unreliability, though the constant messing with the S2 never helped matters...
 

Alex 2901

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The registrations show the S1, etc will become A1, etc now. To be fairly honest I think S1, etc holds more relevance with the area than A1, etc. S1 - A1, S11 - A2, etc.
Some of the E200 are still used on Blythe Valley - Solihull Station work not sure what the PVR of this is, but I always see the E200 (and there MMC as it was this morning parked at Solihull Station on it)? And the Streetlites went following the loss of the JLR work, did they not?

Its been suggested on WMBIP that NX may have decided to commercially operate the 31 as well, rather than lose it?

All of what I'm working off is what TFWM themselves have published, which show the tenders as the numbers as I've put.
If they have chose to change the numbers again, I've now lost what very little faith I actually had in TFWM to be even semi-competent...

I agree that at least having S prefixes made at least a little sense, the possible A prefixes don't (or remind me of the A6Y/C6Y...)
 

Typhoon

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I agree that at least having S prefixes made at least a little sense, the possible A prefixes don't (or remind me of the A6Y/C6Y...)
At least the A6Y actually meant something.

Any chance of the A1 becoming a circular service? Then you could have the A1A!

I lived in the West Midlands for over forty years. I understood the numbering system completely (except, I think it was the S3). I've been gone for less than 10 and I'm completely lost.
 

Typhoon

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Its as though they are trying to confuse passengers.

I can remember when the suffixes included an awful lot of the alphabet. If I remember right the 50J went to Kings Heath, 50K to Alcester Lanes End. They did away with them because it was confusing - just using 'E' for exception. They now seem to have a mish-mash of several different numbering systems. Why?
 

Alex 2901

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Have TFWM publicy published this document? If so do you have a link to the page please?
It seems you are right, and they have chosen to change the numbers again, there were registrations on the vosa site for routes 11 and 12, but these seem to have disappeared now as far as I can see and have been replaced by registrations for routes A1 and A2.
https://www.vehicle-operator-licens...registered-local-bus-services/details/528747/

Edit - Looking at Diamond Buses website it does show the route numbers used will be A1, A2, etc...
Another change mentioned on there is that the 69 (Igo) is going to be extended into Solihull replacing the S15 via Monkspath Hall Rd.
https://www.diamondbuses.com/news/signature-changes/

I've only seen the header parts, so enough to know numbers and a poor route description, so no link I'm afraid.
A lot of what I've put was pieced together off of the consultation documents, listed via points, and a description of the changes i was given. Most of the description is what I used there, rather than the headers.

Its as though they are trying to confuse passengers.

I can remember when the suffixes included an awful lot of the alphabet. If I remember right the 50J went to Kings Heath, 50K to Alcester Lanes End. They did away with them because it was confusing - just using 'E' for exception. They now seem to have a mish-mash of several different numbering systems. Why?

The idea now is to give each town/city it's own local numbering system. Cue confusion with idiots who haven't quite clocked that multiple 6s do exist (ahem, my college tutor, who despite living in Dudley for God knows how long, thought that the 6 between Solihull and Birmingham goes to Dudley...)
 

Typhoon

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The idea now is to give each town/city it's own local numbering system. Cue confusion with idiots who haven't quite clocked that multiple 6s do exist (ahem, my college tutor, who despite living in Dudley for God knows how long, thought that the 6 between Solihull and Birmingham goes to Dudley...)
I'm afraid idiots are allowed to use the bus. In fact if they are as easy to confuse as your tutor, they are best kept off the roads. I do understand what they are trying to achieve and in its right place, it makes sense. Arriva Midlands North has local systems in Stafford and Shrewsbury - duplicate numbers, no problem as they are some distance apart with plenty of comparatively busless miles between them but if you take, say, Dudley or Sandwell where a border is only distinguished by a sign on a road, inevitably there will be confusion. If you look at route 13, one such route terminates at Blackheath, another at Halesowen, not that far apart so if you look on the bus map it is easy to think that they might be the same route. People are put off easily enough by bus travel without confusing them even more. Local numbering worked with Coventry because the only links used to be the 900 and the 190 series but the rest of the West Midlands is largely too seamless. And numbering anything else an 11 is a recipe for chaos (#105).
I won't ask which college you attend but as a former lecturer at two Birmingham colleges, I can confirm that most lecturers' knowledge of bus services is usually limited to knowing the number of the bus they get stuck behind on their way to work.
 

Anthony ross

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When the new contracts take place with the new companies do the drivers who drive the routes that are affected transfer over to the new operator (like they can down here in London) or do they stay with there current employer
 

Typhoon

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Yeah I agree, the only confusion is to idiots.
They've simplified a number of main road corridors in a Birmingham as well as giving the black country towns there own numbering system:
Maybe it has changed now but the main corridors never seemed to be too complicated. From memory:
Coventry Road: 58 and 60 (then 57 and 60 when 58 went to peak only), plus limited stop 900
Warwick Road: 37
Stratford Road: 6 all along the road (5 and 31 deviated off the road short of Hall Green)
Alcester Road: 50
Pershore Road: 45 and 47
Bristol Road; 61, 62, 63
Harborne: 3 (later 103), 22 and 23
Hagley Road: mainly 9 and 126 (plus a few less frequent services to places in the Black Country)
Dudley Road: buses in the 80s (82 went to Bearwood, 87 to Dudley)
Soho Road: 74, 79
Walsall Road: 51, 52
Washwood Heath: 55 + some route that went to Chelmsley W (so probably 90something)
Alum Rock: 14

North East was a bit messy because of Expressway/ non-Expressway routes

Some variations were felt necessary to ensure that estates on the edge of the city were linked to the city centre.

The problems with having duplicated numbers include:- some parts of the country (including 'Red Bus' London) don't have duplicate numbers and some routes are not that far apart (it didn't take me that long to find the 13 - #119 - I just looked at a map, saw a couple of '13's but couldn't find anything between them). The latter is important if a potential passenger has instructions to access a place by public transport (eg Bus services 5, 6 serve the site but no indication of which 5 or 6).

The reason why some people don't use buses is because they find them confusing and help can be hard to come by. Network West Midlands probably means nothing to them*, Traveline definitely does, there are still references to Centro. Unless bus travel is made easy, these people will seek out alternatives. When I had to go to a meeting in Wolverhampton, it was suggested that I take a taxi as the venue might be difficult to find. It was four stops from the city centre - bus stop outside the venue. Some of my colleagues did take the taxi as they were not confident in finding it, they were not used to travel by bus.

* - I searched for 'Birmingham' 'Bus'. Top is NEx, second Network West Midlands with some spiel about 'brand-new eco-efficient buses' what chance the casual traveller clicking there?
 

carlberry

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I've only seen the header parts, so enough to know numbers and a poor route description, so no link I'm afraid.
A lot of what I've put was pieced together off of the consultation documents, listed via points, and a description of the changes i was given. Most of the description is what I used there, rather than the headers.



The idea now is to give each town/city it's own local numbering system. Cue confusion with idiots who haven't quite clocked that multiple 6s do exist (ahem, my college tutor, who despite living in Dudley for God knows how long, thought that the 6 between Solihull and Birmingham goes to Dudley...)
The confusion is caused to the 'idiots' who've used the bus for years and thought that the company might keep the same number instead of changing them all! Still, it's all much easier for the 'idiots' who cant cope with more than one number! I'm sure there will be another marketing genius along in a few years to mess things up again, without any reference to the fact that 99% of bus passengers this week are the ones you had last month. Oddly nobody has suggested renumbering the roads so each town has a local scheme!
 

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When the new contracts take place with the new companies do the drivers who drive the routes that are affected transfer over to the new operator (like they can down here in London) or do they stay with there current employer

I'm not sure why, but sometimes they do, sometimes they don't.

In Keighley when Transdev Keighley took over the majority of local contracted routes from TLC, they also took on most of their drivers under TUPE.
 

TheGrandWazoo

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I'm not sure why, but sometimes they do, sometimes they don't.

In Keighley when Transdev Keighley took over the majority of local contracted routes from TLC, they also took on most of their drivers under TUPE.
It depends whether they are primarily employed on the activities transferring. If you’re employed to work on London service X, and it’s a dedicated rota (or you do 80% of your time on X and 20% on Y) then TUPE will likely apply.

However, if you’re working on tendered service A in Wolverhampton, and it only constitutes 20% of your time, then probably not.

Also, with much bigger PVRs and driver numbers affected in London, there is less likelihood of being able to absorb all spare drivers into a reduced business so TUPE suits some operators too.
 

Typhoon

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About 10 years ago, I recall the Coventry Road being like this, they have undergone a number of changes since this:
57 - Birmingham City Centre to Solihull via Small Heath, Yardley, Sheldon, Old Lode Lane and JLR.
57A - Birmingham City Centre to Solihull via Small Heath, Yarldey, Sheldon, Hobs Moat Road and JLR.
58 - Birmingham City Centre to Birmingham Airport via Small Heath, Yardley and Sheldon.
60 - Birmingham City Centre to Cranes Park via Small Heath, Yardley and Sheldon.
900 - Birmingham City Centre to Coventry Limited Stop via Yardley, Sheldon, Airport and Meriden.
590A/590C - Birmingham Circular (this was withdrawn in 2008) - via Ward End, Castle Bromwich, Water Orton, Coleshill, Marston Green, Yardley and Small Heath - replaced by morning peak peak only 59/A/C trips (Birmingham to Chelmsley trips via Small Heath, Marston Green)

Plus there used to be the local 42 (?) route, which I recall went allover the place - ...
42 used to be a long winded Solihull to Acocks Green route via Yardley (Swan), Yardley (Yew Tree).
The only 42 I remember used to tootle round Rednal and Rubery taking people to shopping centres – possibly Great Park. Operated by Central? (red and white livery). They may have reused the number but from what you describe it is probably the same concept – take people to The Swan or Acocks Green or wherever, weaves all over the place because the target market would be those for whom a journey to a main road is a step too far. They would be half-hourly at best. If the route you are describing travelled along the Coventry Road, it would only be for a short distance so that they could get to Tesco (or The Swan); many district shopping centres have such routes as there is no real food shopping in town. If these routes have been simplified but still allow the less mobile to get to the shops, fair enough but most stick to the suburbs. You write that the 58 has replaced part of the 42 (a number which is no longer used in the area) so why not leave it as the 42 – the 58 has traditionally been city centre to city boundary (later to the airport). It must bear hardly any relationship to the traditional 58.

Regarding the list I gave it included the routes that I would supply if asked by a potential passenger so no peak hours only as I wouldn't know when it ran – at one time the 58 ran really early in the morning to get workers/ passengers to the airport before the 900 kicked in. These were to satisfy particular demand – if the demand is no longer there, they are surplus to requirements. I also only included the routes that went some way down the road so I didn't include the 2 or 12 for Stratford Road because once out of the city they are on their merry way down to Yardley Wood.

The 57 and 57A were basically the same route save for a 3 or 4 minute section just south of Sheldon when one took the left bow leg, the other the right before meeting up again. Most passengers wouldn't notice the difference. I gather the X2 is every 20 minutes – its predecessors were more frequent so could justify the bifurcation.

And as you quite rightly say (in #111), renaming the S1 as A1 and S11 as A2 has dubious advantage. I would go further and suggest that it will annoy more than just idiots.
 

Typhoon

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Plus the X1/X2 are generally more popular with current passengers than the 60, most people tend to let half empty 60's go past to get on the full X2 or X1 because its faster on the Coventry Rd.
I would say the 60 is really there to move people locally between stops on the Coventry Road (outside of the main stops) and to serve Cranes Park (never been there so no idea of potential demand). At one time I am sure there was a minimum fare on the 900 (there certainly would have been higher fares when as the 159).

The X1 is now a 24/7 route so runs through the ealry hours of the morning and throughout the night.
That is an improvement. I still don't see why they couldn't leave it as the 900. 9xx routes have traditionally been limited stop - so now there are two designations showing limited stop services? I did understand why it was changed from the 159 years back as that number was in the Midland Red series - most not limited stop.

Also in relation to the 58 i've read on WM Bus Photos forum that they are rumoured to be scrapping the 58 altogether in March, I wander whether there is any truth in this and if so whether anyting will replace the route on these side roads (those side roads between Yardley Rd, Coventry Rd, Hobs Moat Rd/Lode Lane and Warwick Rd)?
Twenty minute frequency to nothing? Seems a bit odd. Perhaps another operator would take it on? Or it would be merged with another route. The gut feeling is that they would drop it to half-hourly before cutting it completely. Having said that it has the feel of a shoppers bus and I wouldn't expect them to be very lucrative.
 

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That is an improvement. I still don't see why they couldn't leave it as the 900. 9xx routes have traditionally been limited stop - so now there are two designations showing limited stop services? I did understand why it was changed from the 159 years back as that number was in the Midland Red series - most not limited stop.

Do they ever do duplicates on that route when there are events on? I've often seen people going to get the bus afterwards and the bus driving off full, leaving many people behind.
 

Typhoon

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Do they ever do duplicates on that route when there are events on? I've often seen people going to get the bus afterwards and the bus driving off full, leaving many people behind.
Sorry, I no longer live in the area. When I did, on visits to the NEC, I also saw buses leaving potential passengers behind. I cannot recall any bus described as a duplicate or giving the impression that it was. Sometimes it was difficult to tell as they were not always running to time due to traffic congestion. Also, I never went to the really popular events.
 

Alex 2901

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Tender changes from Sunday 21st April

5 - Dudley to Kingswinford & Wall Heath
- Service 5 extended to Stourbridge, via the current 267 route, on all off peak trips.
- Peak & Sunday trips will be renumbered to 5A, and will continue to serve Wall Heath.

10A - Stourbridge to Love Lane Circular
10C - Stourbridge to Love Lane Circular
- New services, replacing the 288 between Stourbridge and Love Lane (Oldswinford)
- Both services will run hourly, Monday to Friday off peak.
- New operator will be NXWM.

14 - Dudley to Halesowen
14A - Dudley to Merry Hill Centre
- 14 reduced to hourly.
- New service 14A, replacing the 208 between Dudley and Portway, and the 24 between Codsall Road Estate and Merry Hill Centre.
- 14A will operate every hour, Monday to Saturday Daytimes.

17A - Stourbridge to Wall Heath Church
- New service, replacing the 657 between Stourbridge and Kingswinford, and the 267 between Kingswinford and Wall Heath.
- Will operate hourly, Monday to Saturday.
- Operated by NXWM.

22 - Wednesbury to Tipton Circular
- New service, replacing the 22 between Wednesbury and Princes End.
- Operated hourly, Monday to Saturday Daytimes by Diamond.

22 - Oldbury to Bearwood
- Renumbered service 122.
- New operator will be NXWM.

24 - Foxyards Estate to Merry Hill Centre
- Between Foxyards Estate and Dudley, the 24 will now serve Priory Road and Forest Road, replacing the 81 in this area. Birmingham New Road & Tipton Road will no longer be served.
- Between Dudley and Merry Hill, the 24 will now operate via Blackheath Town Centre, Rowley Regis Hospital, Dudley Wood and Cradley Heath, replacing the 124 and 208.
- New operator will be NXWM.

52 - Wolverhampton to Roseville
53 - Wolverhampton to Rocket Pool
- New service 52 replaces the 22 between Wolverhampton and Roseville.
- Hourly frequency, Monday to Saturday Daytimes.
- New operator for both services will be Banga.

124 - Dudley to Cradley Heath
208 - Dudley to Merry Hill Centre
- Services withdrawn.
- See new services 14A and 24 for replacements.

267 - Stourbridge to Wall Heath Church
657 - Stourbridge to Kingswinford
- Services withdrawn
- See new services 5 and 17A for replacements.

288 - Stourbridge to Norton
- Service withdrawn
- See new services 10A and 10C for replacements.
 

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There's also emergency tenders from Monday 1st April, due to igo / ATG going into adminisration.


Operated by NX West Midlands

10/10H/10S – Birmingham – Quinton/Selly Oak
- Slight change of route to service 10S which will result in Mill Farm Road no longer being served.

36 – Sparkhill – Acocks Green

99 – Shirley – Shard End

A12 – Solihull – Acocks Green

208 – Dudley – Merry Hill

539 – Coventry – Kenilworth

580 – Coventry – Rugby


Operated by Diamond Bus

19 – The Maypole – Longbridge

22 – Wolverhampton – Wednesbury

53 – Wolverhampton – Rocket Pool

89 - Solihull – Coventry via Meriden & Balsall Common
- To request journeys in the Balsall Common & Meriden roaming zones please call 01527 813120 by 1700 the day before travel.


Operated by The Green Bus (Hockley)

38 – Northfield – Selly Oak


Operated by Kev's Cars & Coaches (Bromsgrove)

39/39A/39S – Bournville College – World’s End/South Woodgate


Operated by Arriva Midlands (Cannock)

19 – Walsall – Bloxwich

25 – Bloxwich – Kingstanding


Operated by Select Bus Services (Penkridge)

50 – Wolverhampton – Wednesfield
- The 1534 journey from Wednesfield will no longer operate.


Along with these, there have also been changes as of 25th March.

Operated by Diamond Bus

57 – Wolverhampton – Bilston via Wednesfield

80 – Moxley to Bilston via Lower Bradley

326 – Bloxwich to Bilston via Willenhall

Operated by Banga Bus (Wolverhampton)

530 - Wolverhampton - Rocket Pool

Operated by Johnsons (Henley-in-Arden)

69 - Solihull - Brandwood Park
 

Typhoon

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36 is Sparkhill to Heartlands Hospital.
To be operated by Birmingham Central with Tridents. This route hasn’t seen any deckers for many years till now.
Used to be necessary to take workers to places like Tyseley. Sadly, no longer. I might be wrong, but I seem to remember travelling on long Fleetlines on the route.
 

Typhoon

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Seems to be virtually empty during the day, other than a few OAP's, there were about 4 waiting for one towards Heartlands in Acocks Green the other day (3 going to Mayfield Road and one further on).
Peak/School times used to seem a little busier towards Heartlands but that was a year + ago (I haven't seen any since) and still not many passengers really (can't have ever been more than about 15 on most of them).
Towards Sparkbrook I observed a completely empty decker on Thursday during the evening peak at about 5PM, a 494X.
I don't doubt it. They only needed the double deckers during the peaks, mornings and afternoons there was always plenty of room (lunchtimes picked up a bit) but this was when Brum relied heavily on manufacturing and workers relied on public transport.

I can't understand why double deckers were insisted on when (I assume) igo didn't use them. I do remember before I left Birmingham I thought NEx operated the 36 out of Acocks Green with short single deckers, I am struggling to visualise them (memory going).
 

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Birmingham Central are getting two or three Streetlites from Dundee, so they could be used on the 36. From what I know, the deckers are only used as that's all they have available that can be used right now.
 

Alex 2901

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From 2nd June 2019

The X7 will be withdrawn from this date, with the X8 now operating every 10 minutes between Wolverhampton and Dudley, continuing onto Birmingham every 20 minutes.

The 126 will increase to every 12 minutes, from every 15 minutes.

The 539 in Coventry will have an additional journey.

X30 and X31 (Coventry to Ansty Park) will change operators, NX Coventry will now run these services.

Timetable changes will affect services:
1 (Tettenhall Wood to Dudley),
7 (Dudley to Wollaston),
34 (Walsall to Bilston),
41 (Walsall to Willenhall),
45 (Walsall to West Bromwich),
46 (West Bromwich to Scott Arms)
74 (Dudley to Birmingham)
 
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