Changes to some Solihull services – 25th February 2019

Changes to some Solihull services – 25th February 2019

Following a consultation that took place last year on the future of some subsidised bus services in the Solihull area, a number of changes will be taking place from Monday 24th February 2019.

The ‘Signature’ brand from Diamond Buses is being dropped, as Diamond lose a number of contracts, and services retained by Diamond will be operated by their regular ‘blue’ buses.

The following information is taken from the Diamond Buses website:

Service S1 – Solihull to Damsonwood Circular

This service will be renumbered to A1. Diamond will continue to operate this service, but with changes to the route and timetable.

Service S2 – Cheswick Green to Dorridge

This service will no longer be operated by Diamond Bus.
There will be changes to the route and timetable for this service, which will become a circular route also covering Hockley Heath and Blythe Valley. Service will be renumbered A6 (for short journeys between Solihull and Cheswick Green), A7 and A8. Service will be operated by Landflight.

Service S3 / S3W – Hockley Heath to Dickens Heath / Wythall

This service will no longer be operated by Diamond Bus. There will be changes to the route and timetable for this service.
S3 eastern part will be replaced by service A3 between Solihull and Dorridge. S3 western part and S3W will be replaced by service A4 from Solihull to Inkford Brook and A5 from Solihull to Dickens Heath. Both services will be operated by Landflight

Service S11 – Solihull Circular (via Buryfield Road)

This service will be renumbered to A2. Diamond will continue to operate this service, but with changes to the route and timetable.

Service S15 – Solihull Circular (via Widney Lane)

This service will no longer be operated by Diamond Bus.
The S15 will be withdrawn and will be covered by amendments to service 69 (operated by igo) which will extend into Solihull along Monkspath Hall Road.

Service 82 – Solihull to Coventry

This service will no longer be operated by Diamond Bus and will be taken over by Johnsons, with minor timetable changes.

Service 88 – Solihull to Balsall Common

This service will no longer be operated by Diamond Bus and will be taken over by Johnsons. There will be changes to the route and timetable for this service.

There is no change to service 30 (Solihull to Acocks Green), this will continue to be operated by Diamond Buses.


Johnsons have already announced that they will be taking over the contracts for the 82 and 88 services, and their current service 87 (Solihull to Coventry) is to be amended from the same date to serve the JLR site at Fen End. The 88 service will also be amended to serve the JLR site, while a new 88A variant will cover the existing direct route between Knowle and Balsall Common currently used by the 87.


It will certainly be interesting to see how the new subsidised bus network looks in Solihull, and it is interesting to note that the new contracts that Landflight have won are for five years, rather than the usual two year period.

Who are Landflight?

An Alexander Dennis Enviro 200 MMC bus which meets the Euro 6 emission standards required for the proposed CAZ in Solihull and Birmingham

Landflight previously operated public bus services under their old ‘Silverline’ name, and currently operate the S10 service between Solihull and Cranes Park. They previously used to operate service S9 (Solihull to Blythe Valley Business Park) before it became a staff-only service, as well as service 36 (Sparkbrook to Heartlands Hospital).

I must admit it is wholly commendable to see a ‘smaller’ bus operator commit to tendered contacts and to be investing in brand new vehicles, as well as creating new job opportunities in the area; at the time of writing, Landflight were looking to recruit 20 new drivers.

The future…

While I wish both Landflight and Johnsons all the best with their new contract wins, the long-term hope must surely be that they can grow passenger numbers on their services to a level where subsidies are either not necessary, or are substantially reduced.

The simple message is “use it or lose it”. No-one wants to see a situation where taxpayers money is being used to pay for buses to run around empty. Hopefully though these changes will have taken into consideration passengers needs enough to get people using these services more regularly, and to get them paying for themselves. Otherwise come five years time, it could be complete withdrawal, rather than just a few tweaks.


Further details on the new routes will be available here once they have been officially published by Transport for West Midlands (TfWM).

Stu

Stu is the founder of this West Midlands Bus Users website. He is not a bus enthusiast, but as a regular passenger takes an interest in public transport related matters, having relied on buses to get around for over twenty-five years now.

15 thoughts on “Changes to some Solihull services – 25th February 2019

  1. Can you please ensure that buses run as close to timetable as possible. On Sunday morning it was nearly 10 minutes early and if I hadn’t left 10 minutes beforehand I’d have had to wait another hour. If people can’t rely on the bus service then they will be making alternative arrangements.

  2. Hi Stu,
    I’ve been told that the Diamond 30 service to Solihull from Acocks Green will be taken over by IGO in c. 3 weeks and will only offer an hourly service instead of 2 an hour. I can’t see any info about this on the IGO website so have emailed them. Would you have any info please? Solihull bus services are becoming more fractured with different operators and more expensive! I used to be able to use the no. 30 and S2 with the Diamond ticket and now they are to be replaced by IGO and Landflight! I think I can use the nbus ticket for both but even that costs more than the current day ticket! Why can’t we have a public bus service covering all routes?!? It would be a lot easier and cheaper! Thanks!

    1. I have also heard that IGO will be taking over the 30 in a few weeks, the reason being that Diamond have asked to end their contract early with TfWM.

      As for bus pass prices, Diamond do offer a monthly pass valid on only their services, so it seems Solihull bus users will have to resort to the nBus pass, this is more expensive, but does allow for unlimited travel on all operators buses across the West Midlands and Coventry.

      What I personally think that Transport for West Midlands should have done is to introduce a Solihull-area nBus monthly ticket, like they have done for Sandwell & Dudley, and Walsall. This would not then disadvantage bus users who only travel on these services in the Solihull area.

      What I don’t know at this point is whether Landflight will be introducing their own weekly/monthly tickets or not.

      Ultimately it all boils down to how often you use the bus and which services you catch, to determine whether a monthly pass is the most cost-effective way to pay for travel. I currently pay £61 a month for an NX Regional Faresaver pass, and that’s just to travel from Billesley to Sparkbrook and back during the week for work, then the occasional trip at the weekend elsewhere, that works out as good value for me.

      1. Hi Stu,

        I agree with you regarding a bus pass purely for Solihull users. I normally tended to travel to Solihull/Dorridge/Knowle and the Diamond monthly ticket @£45 seemed comparatively reasonable! If I travel to Bham I would tend to get the train as I go there less often. I think I will plump for an n bus ticket for the multiple journeys and consider walking to Solihull on the days that I would normally have only gone to the town centre!
        Thanks for the info; I’ll keep checking in for news. If I hear of any info for IGO I will keep you posted.

        Regards,

        Susan.

        1. Service 30 is being withdrawn from 17th March and is replaced by new service A12 which IGO will operate with “minor route change and frequency reduced to hourly” according to Network West Midlands. No timetable or other information available yet though.

  3. Is that a joke to pay £71 for a monthly pass????
    I will be only travelling 5 stops distance, am I the only one who noticed the increase?
    Perhaps, we all should share taxis now, let’s see how long Landflight will survive…

  4. The monthly pass price is £69! That is almost double what we pay now! At least, Diamond service had online bus tracking facility but what are we paying extra for now?

  5. The new a4/a5 timetable is absolutely ridiculous and not thought through properly for customers! If the use it or lose it motto is anything to go by I’m afraid you’ll need to rethink your timetable! The bus myself and others need to do the school run will make us 25 minutes early without shelter etc and also coming from school 5 minutes to get the bus or wait til 3:55! Also going to the maypole this is a further 35 minute wait for this bus and then coming back will cause myself/others to be 30 minutes late for school pick up! Also the weekend service is cut short too! There are people who need to get out of Dickens Heath that don’t drive and rely on the bus to try and get out of the village to take children out etc or elderly rely on it to try and have a social life because they could be stuck in!

  6. Mark

    TFWM told us they are ‘accountable to no one’ and ‘can do what they want to do’. Suggest you write to Andy Street, Mayor to the Combined Authority as the consultation doesn’t stand up to scrutiny. We were told our new service would be weekday only…..now weekday includes Saturdays and astounded how they are getting away with the appalling

  7. The changes to the s3 are totally different to those proposed in the consultation last year and now mean that children from Hockley Heath will not be able to take the bus to Arden school as they currently do. How can these changes be made with no consultation or consideration of the impacts? What options are there to appeal the changes?

  8. When will the timetables for the new bus routes in Solihull A1,A3,A4,A5,A6,A7,A8, will be available either in printed form or on line?

  9. Hi Stu

    I have noticed that the S2 changes don’t include the new A7W & A8W. Can this be added as it’s more accurate, please?

    Thank you

    Karl

    1. Thanks, the information was taken from Diamond’s website. I will try and compile a more up-to-date list of changes in a new article over the weekend.

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