A local councillor says that National Express West Midlands have confirmed that an extension to a much relied upon Frankley bus service is to continue.
Loss of stops
Changes were made to the 61 bus route through Frankley in July 2018, as part of a major review of National Express West Midlands bus routes in Birmingham.
This meant some people – living at the very edge of the city – were no longer served by the route. Believing that this left local people isolated, Cllr Simon Morrall (Conservative, Frankley & Great Park) campaigned on behalf of residents to have an extended route trialled.
Trial route extension
Following the trial route extension – which began in the spring – National Express have now confirmed that the route is set to stay.
Cllr Morrall said: “The 61 bus is a staple of Frankley, people reply on it to get to work, visit Hollymoor doctors or see family and friends. So soon after being elected as your City Councillor, I ran a very aggressive campaign to get it back!
“[During the trial] I have consistently advised residents to keep using the bus to avoid losing them, mentioning this in every newsletter and I have continued to put pressure on Nation Express for an update [..]. Today, I am happy to announce that I have finally received that confirmation.”
‘No plans to make more changes’
A statement from National Express West Midlands said: “After extensive public consultation, National Express West Midlands made major changes to the bus routes in south Birmingham in July last year. This was to cater for emerging travel hotspots, and to help overcome increasing traffic congestion and the resulting slower journey speeds. Since then, National Express West Midlands has listened to feedback from residents about that altered 61 route. So in spring 2019, we started to trial a slightly altered 61 route through Frankley.
“We are pleased to confirm that we are happy with the overall patronage and reliability of the 61 as it currently is – and we have no plans to make any more changes to it in the near future.”
‘Vital part to community’
Cllr Morrall said: “I would like to thank all the residents who took part in this campaign, to everyone who kept using the service as often as possible and to everyone who wrote to National Express to express concern. We showed that these buses are a vital part to our community.”
Conservative Parliamentary candidate for Birmingham Northfield, Gary Sambrook added “Public Transport is vital to so many people, especially the elderly or commuters into the City. And with Birmingham Labour’s continued pursuit to punish car drivers we need to ensure bus services across Frankley are fit for purpose. Part of Our Plan for Northfield is to keep the area connected so people can get to work, local shops and schools.”