Bus Services after the Spending Review - Transport Committee Contents

Written evidence from J Bosley (BUS 08)


1.  This evidence is in reference to the withdrawal in January 2009 of the 639 bus service from Wednesbury to Walsall via Darlaston Road. The service had been operated by National Express West Midlands, but was stopped as the operator claimed there were not enough users to make it viable.

2.  I am a local resident. I was one of the organisers of a petition expressing concern at the way the service was cancelled, and claiming that the reason was not lack of use, but the failings of the operator to run a reliable service. The petition called on National Express West Midlands and Centro, the local transport authority, to take steps to remedy the situation and reinstate the route.


3.  It is all very well for Centro to claim that the nearest bus stops (in Darlaston) are only a 400m walk, but 400m is a very long way, especially for elderly or disabled people.

4.  The 79 bus is an alternative, but it leaves people with a steep walk uphill. For elderly people this can be impossible, especially if they have to carry shopping. If the 79 is held up then residents have no service at all.

5.  People now have to take three buses to reach the Manor Hospital (one into Darlaston, then one to Walsall, then one to the Hospital). An elderly person cannot be expected to do that.

6.  I suffer from arthritis and the walk is very difficult for me, even though I live closer to the current route than many local elderly people.

7.  Elderly people are really struggling. While going from house to house with the petition, I found that many elderly people said they were just not going out anymore. Without an accessible bus stop they decided to stay at home. It is hard for people to rely on their families for transportation anymore, because everyone is so busy.

8.  Younger people are also suffering the lack of service. There are many young families on the complex and many of them work in Walsall. They have to pay twice to get to work as they must change buses. This also takes much more time.

9.  Centro suggest using the Ring & Ride. I would not use the Ring & Ride because it goes all around the houses. I have also heard reports that there may be cutbacks to this service.

10.  Using another alternative route (catching the hourly 327 on Franchise Street), which provides links to the Kings Hill area, involves walking between a park and a field. This is not safe, especially for the elderly, vulnerable and lone travellers.


11.  Residents would welcome even an hourly service along Darlaston Road.

12.  There are new builds being constructed across the road from where I live, and there will be people living in the bungalows who would benefit from the service.

13.  Centro and National Express have justified withdrawing the 639 service as they say it was only used by four or five people. Yet there are other services between Darlaston and Walsall with only a few users. Why is it not possible to merge these services and divert the route to cover Darlaston Road, at least occasionally?

14.  Centro and the bus operators are only looking at the negatives and not at the positives when making their decisions about the routes.

December 2010

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