Monday, January 14, 2008

New buses

To St Phillips Square this morning for the launch of the new super-express buses that are now running down the Aldridge Road.

Of all the new bus services brought in over the last few months, this is the most exciting.

The new buses will afford luxury travel with leather seats and air freshening systems. The new buses also offer the first glimpse of TWM's new red and white livery. In time all TWM new buses will be incorporated into the National Express fleet - so a simple glance will indicate the quality of a bus.

These buses are travelling on the 997, 993 and 934 routes. So the only draw back is that to catch them you'll have to go to the City University stops at Perry Barr. These buses link Birmingham City Centre with Perry Barr and Walsall and its suburbs. If you can use these stops however you'll find a luxury bus service arriving every few minutes to take you into the city.

Chatting to National Express boss Richard Bowker I learn that the existing Aldridge Road buses - which are already quite good quality - will be shifted on to the new 51X service, which is providing high speed city centre travel from Great Barr and is also proving very popular.

The scale of change in the West Midlands is now so fast that we were graced with the presence of transport minister Rosie Winterton MP for the launch.

More good news came with the announcement that the new bus routes launched over the autumn are picking up more passengers, with increases ranging from eight per cent to ten per cent. That's terrific when you consider that on the Queslett Road, 451, there have been fairly small changes including new buses and bus shelters. And the improved 377 service, Walsall to Sutton Coldfield, has attracted its fair share of controversy because it got linked to changes in some other local bus services in the Kingstanding area.

Travelling to the city centre this morning in the wake of the rush hour it was possible to see the impact of small changes. While cars got stuck at Newtown and traffic continued to pile up, the buses zipped by on the bus lanes.

TWM's attention is now shifting to Dudley and the Black Country. So there's still a great deal of improvement to be made in Birmingham. But it's still gratifying, during my short time as Passenger Transport Authority lead member for buses, to be involved in so much progress.


1 comment:

Anonymous said...