USE or lose it – that’s the message from Diamond Buses and local representatives after a planned axing of key commuter departures of the 146 bus service was put on hold.
Diamond agreed to review the curtailment of the Redditch to Birmingham service following a meeting with district and county representatives in Alvechurch.
From June 30 the Monday to Friday 5.45am and 6.35am journeys from Redditch, both of which had been earmarked for axing, will be combined into a 6.15am journey, while the 7.25am and 8.25am run will remain during weekdays and Saturdays to help people commute to work.
The last return journey from Birmingham city centre back to Redditch will be 5.40pm.
Alvechurch County Councillor Charlie Hotham said: “I’m very pleased and I’d like to thank Diamond Buses for their support in holding back on cutting the service, which I would encourage the community to use, or face losing it.
“Diamond Buses receives no subsidy to provide the service from either Worcestershire County Council or Birmingham City Council and it has to pay its way.”
Diamond says the 146 is currently not commercially viable and is making ‘unsustainable losses’.
“The service will be reviewed in three months with the possibility of it being withdrawn in October if passenger numbers are still low,” said a spokesperson.
They added the company was also having to compete against subsidised rail competition, which was unfair.
“Additionally, as the route operates into Birmingham city centre, the introduction of the Low Emission Zone in 2020 means considerable investment is required to replace the vehicles used on the service.”
However Diamond acknowledged the LEZ could benefit the company if car drivers caught the bus to save money.
“If those communities considered switching to bus transport sooner rather than later, it could sway the service into a much better position,” said the spokesperson.
“Diamond would like encourage people to get on board and back this service now to ensure it has a chance of be maintained into the future.”