Chris Gibbens, National Express West Midlands’ Commercial Director, said:
“Children across the region are going back to school in September, so roads will be busier and more people will be travelling. We are putting more buses into service, making more double deckers available and changing timetables so people can safely social distance. These changes make 90,000 more seats available every day - and we still have our fleet of sweeper buses on standby at various locations so that if a route or location gets busy, we can send reinforcements.
“We have worked closely with councils and Transport for West Midlands to speak to all the schools about what they need. We have added extra journeys and introduced new services where there are lots of people needing to get to school, college and work.
“If people haven’t been on a bus for a while, don’t forget to bring a face covering - it’s the law now. There’s plenty of information on our website about how to keep yourself and other people safe.”
Changes to routes in Northfield
Three routes around Northfield in Birmingham are changing. National Express West Midlands is making changes to the 27, 49 and 76 routes to improve the reliability of these long routes. It will also mean the bus operator can replace some single decker buses on services between Northfield and Harborne via Weoley Castle with double deckers, making it even easier to practise safe social distancing on board. It also restores bus services to Rubery Great Park leisure complex and Morrisons.
Making these improvements has involved swapping the ends of the routes around. All sections of road that currently have buses on them will still have buses on them - it might just be a different service than before.
From Sunday 30 August 2020, these routes will be:
27 (every 20 minutes Monday to Saturday daytimes) - Maypole - Yardley Wood - Kings Heath - Bournville - Northfield - Frankley - Longbridge
49 (every 15 minutes Monday to Saturday daytimes) - Solihull - Shirley - Maypole - Pool Farm - Kings Norton - West Heath - Longbridge - Rubery Great Park
76 (every 20 minutes Monday to Saturday daytimes) - Solihull - Shirley - Yardley Wood - Kings Heath - Selly Park - QE Hospital - Harborne - Weoley Castle - Northfield
All these services run early mornings, evenings and Sundays - just slightly less frequently.
New route from Walsall to Wolverhampton
From Tuesday 1 September 2020, National Express West Midlands will be introducing a new bus route between Walsall bus station and Wolverhampton bus station.
The express X529 service will follow much of the route of the popular 529 between Walsall and Wolverhampton (apart from the section between Portobello island and junction 10 of the M6, where the X529 will run non stop along the Black Country Route and Keyway). The X529 will be 10 minutes quicker from end to end as it stops at fewer stops. It will operate Mondays to Saturdays from 0700 to 1900, every 20 minutes.
From 30 August 2020, the 529 will run slightly more frequently than before - every 6-8 minutes. And the X529 will be timed in the 8-minute gaps of the 529 to provide buses every 4/4/6/6 minutes from each end of the route.
Where the X529 stops:
Bus station stands used will be stand F in Walsall bus station and stand P in Wolverhampton bus station. From Sunday 30 August 2020, in Wolverhampton bus station, the 69 will move to stand N and the 11 to stand M.
Changes to the 80, 80A and 89 - Smethwick
Sandwell Council has made Smethwick High Street one-way only. So from Sunday 30 August 2020, service 80 will be withdrawn. All journeys will be on service 80A.
In addition, there will be changes to service 89. On journeys towards Birmingham, from Rolfe Street Station, buses will turn right onto the dual carriageway (Tollhouse Way), left onto Fenton Street, right onto St Pauls Road, left onto Holly Lane, left onto Devonshire Road, then right onto Stony Lane to rejoin the normal route.
On the journey back to West Bromwich, the 89 from Stony Lane will turn left onto Devonshire Road, right onto Holly Lane, right onto St Pauls Road, then continue straight along Smethwick High Street to rejoin the normal route from Blue Gates.
Changes to the X12 - Birmingham-Solihull
From Sunday 30 August 2020, National Express West Midlands will be changing the X12. It will serve Birmingham Business Park in both directions, providing new connections for Solihull, Birmingham Airport, Chelmsley Wood and Castle Bromwich. This has been made possible by the opening of a new road between the Business Park and Bickenhill Parkway. National Express West Midlands has worked closely with the Birmingham Business Park and Transport for West Midlands to get new bus stops installed on Solihull Parkway for this service.
National Express West Midlands has continued to work closely with Transport for West Midlands through the Bus Alliance to provide the right public transport network for the region, including the coordination of all these latest changes to bus services. Other bus operators' services are also changing on Sunday 30 August.
Published 21st August 2020
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