Following from the tipoff from Gina Young about the possible withdrawal by Diamond busses of their 56 service between Brownhills West and Birmingham, the company have confirmed the termination with the following statement issued late yesterday afternoon (Tuesday 15th September 2015):
From Saturday 24th October our 56 service from Brownhills to Birmingham will cease to operate.
Service 56 between Brownhills and Birmingham is operated on a commercial basis with no external funding. This means that the costs of providing the service have to be met by income from passengers.
Over the last couple of years there has been a steady decline in the number of passengers travelling on the service, meaning there has been less income. At the same time, costs have continued to increase above the rate of inflation.
Regrettably, we can no longer sustain operation of this service and have taken the difficult decision to cancel the service.
Other operators provide a number of services in the area and the majority of the 56 route already has the provision of an alternative bus service. Additionally, we understand that National Express West Midlands will be revising one of their services to travel along Erdington Road to replace service 56. Please contact NXWM or www.networkwestmidlands.com for details of this and other services in the area.
We would like to take this opportunity to thank all of our passengers on the 56 service for your custom and support.
So that’s a great big ‘Up yours!’ to passengers of the service – the alternative 936 doesn’t cover Brownhills West or Shire Oak, and has a number of differences in the route which will make the alternative journey involve more than one service for many users.
I do like the tip to contact Network West Midlands, who that morning had no idea the 56 was to be withdrawn! I get the feeling NetworkWM couldn’t find their collective arses with both hands, a diagram and an expensive arse-finding consultant…
Fortunately, Brownhills Councillor Steve Wade has once again stepped in: he’s sent the following message to the managers at Diamond Buses:
I write with reference to the cancellation of the 56 bus route from Brownhills to Birmingham announced by Diamond Buses today.
There are many people and passengers in Brownhills who are, and will be, dismayed by this decision. This route serves many customers, young and old who rely on this service to get to school, work, shop and to visit friends and family. If this service is taken away, there is very little left with regards to a bus service from our Brownhills locality into the Birmingham area and all the other destinations the route serves.
I would be grateful if we could arrange a meeting with the senior management team at Diamond so that we may put our case for keeping this service in Brownhills and indeed, look to yourselves to re-consider the decision given the impact it will have on our community.
I look forward to hearing from you.
Best regards, Brownhills Councillor,
Thanks to Steve for once again being responsive, on the ball and quick to stick up for Brownhills.
If you’re affected and unhappy that the service is being withdrawn, you can email Steve at the following address: Cllr dot Stephen dot Wade at walsall dot gov dot uk, or via his Facebook page here. You can contact Diamond Busses to complain directly using this web form, or call them on 0121 322 2222.
The 56 has it’s roots in Brownhills history: Dunn and Hale, Harper Brothers, Midland Red and Arriva all ran it in one form or another, and Travel West Midlands operated the competing 995 service for several years. It would be a shame to let this service go without a fight. As pointed out above, the 936 does offer an alternative to Birmingham, but doesn’t serve the same route.
Comment here or mail me: BrownhillsBob at Googlemail dot com.