First Bus caused a bit of a stir earlier this month when it was revealed they would be curtailing their 144 service to operate between Worcester and Catshill, no longer continuing to Birmingham city centre via Rubery and Longbridge along the Bristol Road.
First cited “low passenger usage” along that part of the route as the reason for the curtailment.
While First are proceeding with their service curtailment effective from Sunday 1st May, after discussions with Worcestershire County Council, an emergency tendered contract has been awarded to NX West Midlands which will see the county council subsidising a service to operate between Bromsgrove and Longbridge, from Tuesday 3rd May.
I understand the contract will last for six months, so is clearly being offered on a “use it or lose it basis”. In the meantime the county council will review the network and hopefully reach a longer-term solution.
I understand this service will operate as 144A, following the current 144 route between Bromsgrove bus station and Longbridge via Catshill and Rubery, every hour Monday to Saturday daytimes.
It remains to be seen how successful this service ends up, and how many of the 2000 plus people who signed the petition will actually use it.
Of course, if it does prove to be viable for NX Bus to operate without external funding, it would be interesting to see how it could be incorporated into their other commercial services.
Featured image is (c) Tony Hunter, WM Buses In Photos