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'We are aware of concerns': National Express vow over planned route changes

By Jamie Brassington | Dudley | Transport | Published:

National Express has extended a public consultation after residents strongly opposed plans to change bus routes.

And the bus operator has responded to concerns from passengers over proposals to change two bus routes in Dudley.

National Express is planning to change a number of bus routes in the Black Country, including 16 which runs through Himley and 17 which runs through Lower Gornal.

These proposals are to streamline services and create direct links between towns.

However the plans would see 16 bus no longer pass through Himley and the 17 bus through Gornal also scrapped.

Staffordshire County Council councillor Victoria Wilson, who represents Himley, said the change would leave people isolated. While Gornal councillor Anne Millward, who serves on Dudley Council, said the changes would mean people would now have to catch two buses to reach Stourbridge.

What has National Express said about the changes at Himley?

National Express spokesman Ali Bell said: "We are aware of concerns regarding the proposed withdrawal of the 16 bus from the Himley section of route covering Bridgnorth Road, east of Common Road, School Road, Stourbridge Road and Wolverhampton Road (north of Holbeach Road).

"Passenger numbers on this section of the route are extremely low - only 16 people boarding daily towards Stourbridge and 22 towards Wolverhampton.

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"So our proposal is to amend the current route to run along the 15 route through Swindon and Hinksford where the passenger demand is higher. This would provide a 20-minute frequency for Swindon and Hinksford instead of the current 30-minute frequency.

"Staffordshire County Council are aware of our network proposals and the feedback regarding the 16 route. We are liaising with them regarding potential solutions."

What has National Express said about the changes at Lower Gornal?

Ali Bell continued: "Although National Express West Midlands’ service number 17 would disappear under these proposals, it will be replaced by other routes - and most people will get a more frequent service. We’re actually increasing frequency by 50% for lots of 17 customers - and the journey time to Dudley will actually reduce by a minute on the new timetable.

"Stickley, Gornal Wood and Stallings Lane will lose direct links to Stourbridge. However, these areas benefit from a higher frequency (every 20 minutes) to Wall Heath, Kingswinford and Dudley. A change of bus in Kingswinford would be required to travel to Stourbridge - but our passenger data shows that very few people using the 17 go all the way from Gornal to Stourbridge and vice versa."

To have your say on the public consultation, click here.

Jamie Brassington

By Jamie Brassington
Senior Multi-Media Journalist - @JamieB_Star

Senior reporter at the Express & Star. Contact me at jamie.brassington@expressandstar.co.uk.

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