No 40 bus to start on 22nd February
Thanks to the hard work of the Yardley and Hall Green Liberal Democrat teams there is to be a new bus service, No 40, to replace the 41 service which has been withdrawn by National Express. We will provide more details of exactly what the route is at a later stage.
A lot of effort has been put into this by your local Liberal Democrat councillors and MP. It has involved attempts by Labour MPs to silence the MP by shouting him down to stop him talking about local bus services and many many meetings involving councillors, the MP, Centro and National Express Group. We know how important these services are and have continued fighting for local people.
The underlying problem with the removal of the No 41 bus is that since the 1985 Transport Act most decisions as to where buses run are made by private companies (National Express) rather than democratically.
In December 2009 Councillor Gaved raised concerns with Centro about what was happening with the bus services locally and was told that the No 41 bus was to be cancelled. This caused concern with all the local councillors and the MP.
On January 5th Councillors Iain Bowen, Jackie Hawthorn, Penny Wagg, Paula Smith, Roger Harmer and Jerry Evans had a meeting at Acocks Green Bus Garage with National Express to ask them to keep the service. John Hemming MP also wrote to National Express and Centro calling for the service to be retained or failing that an alternative service to be provided.
A further meeting was organised by Cllr Jon Hunt in The Council House on 29th January 2010 involving Centro, National Express Group, John Hemming MP and Councillors Iain Bowen, Paula Smith, Jackie Hawthorn, David Osborne, Jerry Evans and Daphne Gaved. At this meeting National Express refused to continue the service, but it was agreed that Councillors Iain Bowen and Paula Smith would discuss alternatives with Centro.
On 1st February John Hemming MP spoke in the House of Commons about bus regulation highlighting the problems with the No 41 bus. On 3rd February John raised the same issue with the Prime Minister. Labour MPs tried to shout him down to stop him talking about bus services. The Prime Minister also made a joke about local bus services. On 4th February John asked other government ministers about bus regulation.
On 1st February Councillors Paula Smith, Iain Bowen and Barbara Jackson attended a Fox Hollies Green Neighbourhood Forum meeting at Fox Hollies Leisure Centre. A meeting about the 41 bus had been arranged, but was cancelled because too many people turned up.
On 2nd February Councillor Paula Smith presented a petition from about the No 41 bus to the City Council.
On 5th February Councillors Iain Bowen and Paula Smith met up with Centro. to discuss options for an alternative route No 40. Councillor Jon Hunt took up this issue as the Lib Dem lead on the Transport Authority.
On 10th February a test route drive for the new 40 bus service was successful and it was agreed that there would be a new No 40 bus route on contract to Centro.