Wright Eclipse 2

Transport for West Midlands (TfWM) announced details of bus services set to change from 29 October as part of the plan to protect the region’s bus network.

Earlier this month it was announced that the region’s bus service network would be secured at near current levels and continue to operate without radical change until January 2025 following a £40 million injection of support funding from TfWM. However, it was noted that a small number of services which do not provide value for money would need to be changed to focus resources where they are most needed.

Although the vast majority of the region’s 394 regular bus services remain unaffected – there will be changes to 32 services, some will have timetable changes, some new operators and regrettably three services are to be withdrawn. This is due to low passenger numbers, higher operating costs and changes in travel patterns which means they no longer provide value for money for the taxpayer.

These are:

  • 25 – Bromford to Erdington Six Ways Services covering the area include the X12 Birmingham to Solihull via Chelmsley Wood; X13 Birmingham to Chelmsley Wood via Castle Bromwich; 28 Heartlands Hospital to Great Barr via Erdington; 11A / 11C Birmingham Outer circle. 
  • 600 – Brookvale to Erdington Circular The area is covered by the number 7 Birmingham to Perry Common via Witton; 11A / 11C Birmingham Outer circle; 65 Birmingham to Perry Common via Short Heath.
  • 19 – Tile Hill to Coventry via Cannon Park Shopping Centre / Westwood Business Park The route is partially replaced by the number 2

The ring and ride service can also provide an alternative for those who are eligible.

The changes are mostly to services operated under subsidy from TfWM following the annual review of contracts. Subsidies are provided for services which are not commercially viable but are deemed socially necessary. As these already receive public funding they are not covered by the new bus service protection agreement. However, they do need to meet long-standing value for money rules that are needed to justify the use of taxpayers’ money.The three services being withdrawn unfortunately no longer meet those rules.

Some services will have minor timetable changes from October 29th or November 5th, other key changes are listed below.

002 – Weoley Castle to Merry Hill

From 29 October 2023, this service will no longer operate on Sundays.

From 29 October 2023, National Express West Midlands will operate an extended X21 service on Sundays to Merry Hill via Weoley Castle & Halesowen once an hour to provide an equivalent service.

2 – Birmingham to Maypole

From 5 November 2023, route is revised between Yardley Wood and Maypole to partially replace the 27.

From Daisy Farm Road, new route is Langstone Road, Greenford Road, Yardley Wood Road, High Street, Prince of Wales Lane, Gorleston Road, Highters Lane, Glenavon Road and Alcester Road South to Maypole.

Sunday journeys to Maypole are reinstated after being withdrawn earlier this year.

2 – Tile Hill to Coventry

From 5 November 2023, this National Express Coventry service will be operating with some changes to the route and timetable.

Buses will extend beyond Tile Hill to either Westwood Business Park (in times) or Cannon Park Shopping Centre (in off-peak times).

4 – Walsall to Blackheath
4H – Walsall to Hayley Green
4M – Walsall to Merry Hill

From 5 November 2023, new timetables will be introduced, with National Express West Midlands and Diamond working in partnership to better co-ordinate services.

Customers will now see a combined timetable with buses running up to every 5 minutes between Walsall and West Bromwich, and up to every 8 minutes between West Bromwich and Blackheath. Service 4M to Merry Hill will continue to be operated by National Express West Midlands and will still run up to every 20 minutes. 

Diamond will now run all Monday to Saturday daytime journeys on service 4H, with National Express West Midlands  running evening and Sunday journeys on the route.

5 – Wolverhampton to Codsall

From 5 November 2023, this National Express West Midlands service will no longer be operating.

Banga Buses will be operating a 5/5A service to partially replace this route Monday to Saturday daytime.

5 – Codsall Bakers Way to Wolverhampton via Bilbrook:

  • Every 60 minutes from Monday to Friday
  • No Saturday service
  • The first bus will be at 7am from Codsall
  • The last bus will be at 6pm from Wolverhampton

 5A – Codsall Bakers Way to Wolverhampton via Dunstall (Evans Street)

  • Every 60 minutes from Monday to Saturday 
  • The first bus from Monday to Friday will be at 7:30am from Codsall
  • The first bus on Saturdays will be at 7am from Codsall
  • The last bus will be at 18:31 from Wolverhampton
  • The 5A will not serve Bilbrook

From 6th November, evening and Sunday journeys will be provided by Chaserider following award of Staffordshire CC contract.

19 – Walsall to Bloxwich

From 29 October 2023, this National Express West Midlands service will be operated by Chaserider.

20 / 21 – Bearwood to Oldbury

From 29th October 2023, Diamond will continue to operate these services with a revised timetable, which will see the last two afternoon journeys removed Monday to Friday, and Saturday journeys to be withdrawn. New timetable available here.

27 – Maypole to Cofton Hackett

From 5 November 2023, this National Express West Midlands service will be operating with some changes to the route and timetable.

The route will be shortened to operate between Frankley (Arden Road) and Yardley Wood (Bus garage) only. Between Kings Heath and Hollybank Road, the service reverts to using Addison Road and Barn Lane. (Service 76 will continue to serve Wheelers Lane and Alcester Road South)

Changes will be made to the 2 (Birmingham to Maypole via Warstock) to provide an alternative service in this area.  This service is also provided by National Express West Midlands.

45 – Walsall to West Bromwich

From 29 October, Diamond will continue to operate this service with a revised timetable, and a minor route change with Hallam Street being served. This is on a trial basis and will be reviewed in January 2024. New timetable available here.

51 – Coventry to Arena Shopping Park

From 5th November, National Express Coventry will begin operating Sunday daytime journeys between Coventry city centre and Chapelfields (Westbury Road) only.

Stagecoach will continue to provide Monday to Saturday journeys with no change to timetable.

54 – West Coventry Academy to Coventry

From 6th November, this school service operated by National Express Coventry will be curtailed to run to/from Spon End (Meriden Street) only.

54 / 54A – Worlds End to West Bromwich

From 5 November 2023, this National Express West Midlands service will operate with route and timetable changes.

  • Europa Village will no longer be serviced from Monday to Saturday. The revised service 61 (West Bromwich to Great Barr via Handsworth) will replace this section. 
  • In Londonderry, buses will operate via William Road and Hurst Road instead of Harold Road, The Oval, Goodyear Road and Broadmoor Avenue
  • In Smethwick, buses will operate via Holly Lane, Devonshire Road and Stony Lane instead of St. Paul’s Road

60 – Warwick University to Arena Park

From 29 October 2023, this Stagecoach service will operate with some minor changes:

  • Jaguar Land Rover will be served at peak* times only. West Midlands Bus on Demand is available to customers who wish to travel at other times of the day.
  • On Sundays will run from Stivichall to Arena Retail Park only, but will divert to serve Warwickshire Shopping Park

61 – West Bromwich to Great Barr

From 5 November, this Diamond service will operate with minor timetable changes and is revised to serve Europa Village.

67A – Birmingham to Peddimore

This new service will operate from 8 October by National Express West Midlands. The service will be linking directly to the new Amazon distribution facility in Peddimore and providing direct links from Birmingham city centre.

71 – Sutton Coldfield to Chelmsley Wood

From 29 October, Stagecoach will no longer operate Sunday journeys, service will be provided by Solus Travel. Some journeys will be removed from the timetable and replaced with new 71A journeys as below.

(No change to Monday to Saturday journeys operated commercially by National Express West Midlands)

71A – Sutton Coldfield to Chelmsley Wood

This new service will operate from 22 October and will serve the new Amazon distribution centre at Peddimore. National Express West Midlands will operate four journeys a day Monday to Saturday.

From 29 October, Sunday journeys will be added and operated by Solus Travel.

74 – Walsall to Gillity Village

From 29 October 2023, this Diamond Bus service will be operated by Walsall Community Transport.

88 – Stourbridge to Norton

From 2 October 2023, this Kev’s Cars & Coaches service will be operated by Diamond Bus.

89 – Birmingham to West Bromwich

From 5 November 2023, this National Express West Midlands service will be operating with some changes to the route and timetable.

The service will run between West Bromwich and Bearwood via Smethwick and Cape Hill. The service will no longer run through to Birmingham, instead passengers can change in Cape Hill for onward travel to Birmingham using services 82 or 87.

The service will also no longer serve St. Paul’s Road or Devonshire Road. Buses will instead operate from Rolfe Street rail station along Smethwick High Street and directly onto Stony Lane. 

Devonshire Road will instead be served by the revised services 54 and 54A. 

From Cape Hill, buses will operate via Portland Road, City Road and Sandon Road to terminate at Rutland Road in Bearwood. 

96 – Kingstanding to Chelmsley Wood / Birmingham Airport

From 22 October 2023, this Diamond Bus service will be operated by National Express West Midlands before 6:30pm.

From this date, there will be some minor timetable changes to improve connections with the National Express West Midlands X12 service at Chelmsley Wood for onward travel to Birmingham airport.

Diamond Bus will continue to operate the service from 6:15pm, Monday to Friday and on Sundays.

530 – Wolverhampton to Rocket Pool

From 29 October 2023, this service will no longer be operating after 5:30pm.

On Sundays, this service will be operated by National Express West Midlands. The service will still be operated by Banga Buses from Monday to Saturday.

A7 / A8 – South Solihull Circulars

From 29 October 2023, this Landflight service will operate with some changes:

  • Your best alternative is to change to the Landflight A7/A8 (South Solihull Circular) at Stratford Road which stops at McDonalds.
  • Purnells Way/Longdon Road will no longer be served from 7pm. Your best alternative is to catch services from Station Road.
  • Buses will serve Stroudley Road on Blythe Valley Park
  • The last bus of the day from Monday to Saturday will be approximately one hour earlier

A10 – Solihull to Chelmsley Wood

From 29 October 2023, this Landflight service will have minor timetable and route alterations.

Digby Drive in Marston Green will no longer be served due to difficulties with parked vehicles.

X1 – Birmingham to Coventry

From 22 October 2023, this service will be operated by National Express Coventry with a revised timetable.

X21 – Birmingham to Bartley Green
X22 – Birmingham to Woodgate

From 29 October, there will be a permanent route change around Kitwell and Bartley Green, with the X21 being extended to Merry Hill Centre on Sundays. There will also be a timetable change due to these route changes.

The X21 will no longer serve Adams Hill, Wood Lane or Field Lane, but will serve Bartley Green directly via Romsley Road.

On Sundays, the X21 will extend hourly from Bartley Green to Merry Hill via the 002 route, replacing that service withdrawn on Sundays.

The X22 will serve Adams Hill and Wood Lane before serving Kitwell and terminating at Bartley Green.

Further details and links to new timetables (once available) can be found at the TfWM website.

For anyone concerned about their bus route changing operator, please remember that all bus operators in the West Midlands accept and issue nBus tickets.

Featured image (c) Tony Hunter, WM Buses In Photos, used as always with permission


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20 days ago

No Bearwood or Oldbury bus on Devonshire Rd this is why less passengers its too complicated otherwise. The decision to take off Bearwood bus was a huge error long run it hasnt worked! 🤦‍♂️

1 month ago

Green St gets 3 buses which is 5mins to 80 and 87 yet us further away get two hourly ones yet its 15-20mins walk? 🤔 there should be more buses in inaccessible sloped bits not less

1 month ago

The 89 going via Devonshire Rd and St Pauls Rd isnt the issue as people need those parts anyway and goes via Galton Bridge. it was a lack of service as just one 30mins bus covering half of Smethwick. 89 going via Portland Rd City Rd is issue as it makes links between Smethwick and Bearwood longer than necessary whereas going via Waterloo Rd and Bearwood where they need a West Brom High St bus anyway as 82 doesnt go there is much more needed. Most roads have 2 or 3 buses anyway Queens Rd, Thimblemill Rd, Holly Lane stops for example yet our roads nearer High St only get one and now no evening service 🤔

1 month ago

The 89 doesnt need to change route at all imo. The 54/54a can still serve what they will be doing as they are hourly buses anywayand wont run evenings. Two buses served my road for years 448 and 455 then 444 and 55 no reason it cannot do that again as many people live up there. It will mean no links to Aquatics Centre or Queens Head and no links for people to Galton Bridge from much of Smethwick. People in St Pauls Road will have no links towards Queens Head. If they needed the 80 and 87 they would use them so its clear 89 drops them where they need. The Uplands has two buses 89 and 21 so no reason why my roads cannot as we are even more inaccessible. 89 still serves the High St and would be better on its current route as people in Bearwood have links to St Pauls and Galton Bridge it would mean more links from more of Smethwick to Bearwood who now have to get an 80 and 87 or a 54/54a to 89 🤦‍♂️🙄

1 month ago

The 450 was far better as an Albion fan especially those of us who dont live near West Brom or that way. The 450 was quicker and safer to get home. Going via West Brom is longer and more dodgy. I am getting a car as it will be more safer especially night games. The two buses via West Brom dont work and at least if you have to get two buses nearer High St you are within walking distance of home. The 74s are always delayed meaning a huge wait its quicker to walk to the rail station and walk home that way. Back home in half the time instead of being stuck in West Brom

1 month ago

I used 450 and 444 regularly. Every bus since has been less well used. Whenever I got on they had a lot on. The 50a/c didnt go to Stony Lane unlike 444 and 448 before it as they dropped people nearer Smethwick High St and St Pauls areas and linked people along there to Bearwood and High St from other areas including nearer Galton Bridge. Too far to walk to 48/48a, 48a goes around the Wrekin including a long walk on top. I used to use 450 by The Hawthorns it was always full when I used it. The 50a/c didnt go near the Hawthorns like 89 doesnt currently and so didnt link people to shops up there and near Albion shop 450 did that so any bus now has far less on the bus. People by in large in Smethwick dont care about journey time as long as it links people to important bits along the way which current services dont. Many dont always need West Brom and the current links dont link to where they need. Even people who do go to West Brom go to other bits along the routes at other times and so find current services unuseful and they have to switch bus whereas before they got one bus.

1 month ago

I know a lot of people between Smethwick High St and Queens Head. Many shop in both Oldbury and Bearwood and I know many who currently have to walk a distance to 48 for work. The 89 will benefit people, not only a direct bus from Bearwood and Smethwick High St but also a direct bus to Bearwood in between. Instead of two buses with shopping they can get one bus a lot nearer to where they live meaning less tiring journey. Many still use 48 but now have to walk a lot extra so have never changed their habits 89 will be nearer though. Currently all the Bearwood and Oldbury buses are bunched up near Queens Head for some unknown reason this spreads the Bearwood buses out like it was years ago. Still two buses to Oldbury though which puts many users off. The 54/54a will be of benefit as quicker links to West Brom and Cape Hill. Currently many people by me use 48 as its quicker than 89. People have no choice but to use 89 for Cape Hill as to difficult to walk and carry shopping uphill from 87 but many workers have to walk to 87 as 89 takes too long. People will prefer quicker 54/54a links. It also returns links along Stony Lane many people go to High ast via there as the walks are flatter rather than walking up the sloped High St roads so more buses there are of benefit and many change bus by Blue Gates so get off the bys there

1 month ago

What you have said is totally false neither 20 or 21 served Thimblemill Baths both quite a walk away. The 21 does indeed serve Aquatics Centre from Queens Road. Smethwick residents like myself who live nearer the High St and St Pauls Rd areas have poorer links to Aquatics Centre. Many disabled and elderly are unable to walk to 89, 48/48a and certainly not the 21 which only serves Uplands and Manor Rd. The 54a does go there but extremely indirect via Cape Hill meaning longer journey and its only hourly 54 doesnt go there at all. There will be no 54/54a stops by Holly Lane and so doesnt stop by Holly Lane for Galton Bridge. Those stops wont be served by any bus. Most of us towards St Pauls area have poorer less links to Aquatics Centre Bearwood and Oldbury especially those not near Stony Lane or near 87 which is a long uphill walk. The 20 doesnt serve Smethwick ‘proper’ and the 21 to Bearwood and Oldbury doesnt serve those of us nearer the High St so we have poor shopping links to those areas and poorer links to Londonderry to switch for Bearwood and Oldbury buses meaning still 2 buses to Oldbury and Bearwood even via 89. The 89 will no longer serve us towards St Pauls so no Bearwood bus in that area at all. I have used 21 many times and is low generally as it serves roads already served by more frequent buses that go to Bearwood and Oldbury. The 49, 12/12a, 13, 48/48a all a very short walk away or serving the same stops the 21 does. The closure of Thimblemill Baths had nothing to do with it indeed those of us nearer High St and St Pauls found it very difficult to access Thimblemill Baths

Richard Jones
Richard Jones
1 month ago

The West Midlands Bus style changes to the 4H & 4M are long overdue. The majority of passengers won’t really see much of a change save for the end of a NXWM 4H chasing behind a DIAMOND BUS 4H with 2 buses always running together; in theory; Monday to Saturday most passengers will easily be able to see the NXWM bus is 4M & the DIAMOND Bus is 4H except on Sundays & Bank Holidays just to confuse matters that the 4H is a MXWM bus!

The bigger change is the 002 on Sundays its replacement the X21 doesn’t quite follow the same route between Weoley Castle & Woodgate and so passengers are advised to check the route before using it on a Sunday from Bonfire Night.

The withdrawal & changes to Diamond 20/21 on a Saturday is to be expected following the closure of Thimbermill Baths as these services do not serve the new Sandwell Aquatic Centre & from using it myself passenger numbers were always very low on a Saturday.

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