DISCUSSIONS are taking place between Worcestershire County Council and two bus operators regarding finding a solution to the controversial 144 bus changes.
Current proposals would see the service terminate at Catshill from May 1, meaning the century old bus service would no longer go to Rubery or Birmingham.
At a Bromsgrove District Council meeting tonight, council leader Karen May said she had received the information about the talks from the county council’s cabinet member for Highways earlier today.
The deadline for the final responses from the two operators will be at 3pm on Friday with those options set to be discussed as a matter of urgency on Monday.
First Bus Worcester which currently operates the 144 has also confirmed from May 2, when children return to school, that the S45 school service will serve the current 144 route.
Discussions at the meeting took place after a motion was submitted by Coun Harrison Rone-Clarke calling on the authority to lobby to secure its long-term future.
Both he and Coun May spoke of their fond memories of growing up in Bromsgrove and catching the 144 when they were younger and before they got cars.
A flurry of councillors lined up to speak on the importance of the Worcester to Birmingham route being maintained as it was much-needed by residents of all ages for employment, education, medical appointments, caring, visiting family and friends and having days out.
Most of them said they had received countless correspondences from those living in their ward, stressing how vital the service was.
Coun May also said it was crucial to the Bromsgrove economy while Rubery Councillor Peter McDonald said he had been contacted in equal numbers by people from Birmingham who relied on the 144 to get to Bromsgrove and other areas of Worcestershire.
Coun Adrian Kriss, also a Rubery councillor,, said he had a meeting with First Bus Worcester’s management also s scheduled for Friday, April 22. He expressed dismay that the council was not informed of the changes in advance and that there was no public consultation.
The motion was unanimously backed by all councillors and political groups.
Summing up his motion, Coun Rone-Clarke said he could not stress enough the importance of a bus route being maintained between Worcester and Birmingham and praised the people for coming together to push so hard to save it.
“If a sense of local democracy is to prevail we have to win this – if we can’t win this with the strength of feeling there is, what hope do we have?”
The Standard, like the councillors and First, has received a massive response from residents and 144 users. We submitted letters sent to us to First Bus Worcester, Worcestershire County Council, Bromsgrove District Council, local councillors and MP Sajid Javid.