8 June 2010

Degradation of the 37 bus service

Just sent this to my local councillors:
Dear David Willis, Daphne Gaved and David Osborne,

I wish to express my concerns at recent changes in the number 37 bus service which runs along the Warwick and Stratford roads connecting Solihull and Birmingham centres. I am a frequent user of this service as I cannot drive and work in Birmingham City Centre. Additionally to get to most other areas (e.g. most of my immediate family live in or near to Sheldon) I have to take the 37 to either Solihull or Birmingham centre and catch a connecting service. For this reason I have a bus pass which I purchase via monthly direct debit.

Up until last year the vast majority of buses on this route (and virtually all at peak times) were run by Travel West Midlands (TWM), owned and operated by National Express. This was good as my bus pass can only be used on TWM. Over the past year more and more non-TWM buses ("Touchwood Connect" appears to be be the most common offender) and a commensurate reduction in TWM buses. I cannot use my pass on these buses. Whilst the service still runs frequently (they advertise every 1-7 minutes, 3-15 would be more accurate) I often have to wait 20 minutes or more for a bus on which I can use my pass on. This is less than ideal for getting to work.

I am frequently left with a choice of waiting for a bus I can use my pass on (so extending my commute), paying fare for a journey I've already paid for in my bus pass or considering upgrading to a much more expensive card hat is accepted on non-TWM buses and train/Metro services (which I very rarely need to use).

This reduction in service and utility of my pass makes the recently announced 10% price hike even more galling.

I have noted that other services do not seem to have seen similar changes. I also note that yourselves and John Hemming MP recently campaigned for the re-instating of a service covering some of the more affluent parts of Yardley, the 40/41 service.

Yours sincerely,

Stephen Booth

Be interesting to see what if any response I get, given that Daphne at least knows I'm a Labour party member (it came up when she was stood on my doorstep one time).

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