It has been brought to my attention that route maps and timetables have appeared on both the TfWM and BusTimes websites that seem to indicate route changes for the A9 and 169 services operated by Stagecoach Midlands, effective from 3rd June 2023.
I’ve not seen any update from Stagecoach or TfWM regarding these changes, hence the ‘question mark’ in the title, and there’s always the possibility of a ‘data error’, but it’s pretty poor if these changes are taking place and passengers haven’t been given sufficient notification.
The following is what I can see from the new route maps and timetables.
A9 – Blythe Valley to Kingshurst
Between Blythe Valley and Solihull, the route changes and Cheswick Green and Monkspath will no longer be served. From Blythe Valley, buses exit via Kineton Lane onto Stratford Road, then via Cranmore Boulevard, Widney Lane and Blossomfield Road into Solihull station interchange before heading into the town centre.
There is also a minor route change between Solihull town centre and Olton station, with buses using Highwood Avenue between Lode Lane and Castle Lane.
169 – Kings Heath to Solihull
Route changes between Shirley and Solihull as per the map above. From Solihull Road instead of continuing to Solihull station and town centre and then back to Shirley, it will operate via Lawnswood Avenue, Blenheim Road and Union Road to rejoin the Stratford Road by Sainsburys, before operating the reverse of the current route into Solihull.
I’m not sure of the reasoning behind these changes, certainly the 169 change makes the route more straight-forward and less convoluted, and could help with reliability issues, but the A9 pretty much becomes a different route between Solihull and Blythe Valley, so I can only assume this is due to poor passenger loadings.
Both services are funded by TfWM with support from BSIP (Bus Service Improvement Plan) government grants.
I’d be very interested to hear from anyone who uses these services, and if any notices of these changes are shown within the bus. Also I’d be grateful if anyone can confirm these changes are happening or if there is indeed some kind of error, I have already contacted Stagecoach and TfWM via Twitter and await their response!
Interestingly, 3rd June is a Saturday, which is when Stagecoach usually make service/timetable changes, however in the West Midlands, such changes would happen on a Sunday.
Featured image (c) Tony Hunter, WM Buses In Photos, used as always with permission
Still no response to my tweet but a reader has pointed out in the comments below that these changes are now listed on the Upcoming Bus Service Changes page on the TfWM website, but still I think it is pretty poor to be giving passengers less than a week’s notice of these changes.