At the beginning of July, National Express West Midlands launched a consultation on possible changes to bus services in the East Birmingham area. Several of our services in Shard End Ward, including the 55 and 55A, 14, 72, 97 and 97A services could all be affected.
Surprisingly, National Express were planning to close the consultation on 17 July, allowing just a fortnight for residents to find out about the plans, absorb the details and make comments. I didn’t think that was good enough and I contacted National Express to tell them so! As a result, they have now agreed to extend the consultation to the end of the month.
You can view the full details of what they are proposing by following this link. It is important to emphasise at this stage that it is a consultation and no final decisions have been taken. Nevertheless, we need to make sure that they hear our voices loud and clear.
I’ve already talked to a number of residents about their concerns. It is clear that there is a strong view amongst residents of Shard End and especially the Yorkswood area, to keep the 55 and 55A as they are. Many of us will remember the fight we had to get the 55A introduced after the old 54 service was withdrawn, leaving Yorkswood residents without a regular bus service to the city centre. I will be opposing any plans to change this service and a petition to save the 55A has already been organised. If you would like to add your name, please email me and let me know.
There are also concerns about the proposal to remove the 97A service, which provides a direct link to Birmingham Airport. I will be urging them to abandon this plan too.
I will be making a formal response to National Express on behalf of residents, but I’d also urge residents to make their views known to. You can write direct to them at firstname.lastname@example.org, or alternatively let me have your comments and I will submit them on your behalf.
This is a vital issue for our community, so let’s make sure we all have our say!
A number of concerned residents have been in touch regarding rumours that the 55A bus service, which provides a vital link across the Yorkswood area, is about to be changed or cancelled.
I checked this out with National Express, the bus company who run the service and have now had confirmation that there are no plans to change the 55A. This is good to hear, especially after the fight we had to get the service introduced after a disastrous reorganisation of local bus routes five years ago.
Here’s the full text of the email I received from National Express:
From: National Express [email@example.com]
Sent: 19 February 2016 13:28
To: Councillor John Cotton
Subject: Our Ref NXWM/81888-12
19 February 2016
Thank you for your enquiry.
We are not aware of any changes being made to the 55A bus route.
Thank you for contacting us.
Customer Liaison Officer