A NEW ‘on-demand’ bus service is to launch next week in Bromsgrove – one of the first of its kind in the West Midlands.

The pilot ‘Bromsgrove on Demand’ (BOD) service will allow people living within Bromsgrove and surrounding villages to access both on-demand and pre-booked buses for journeys anywhere within the service area, including to and from the town centre, Bromsgrove Railway Station or nearby villages.

The aim of the service, which launches on July 19, is to help reduce congestion and provide improved public transport options for local residents. It is hoped if the pilot is a success, the service will be rolled out across the whole of the county.

Councillor Alan Amos, cabinet member with responsibility for highways and transport, said: “This service has been in the pipeline for quite some time now so it’s great to see it finally launching.

“We want to see more residents using public transport rather than their own cars and we really believe this service will make it easier for people to get to where they need to go.

“This is a pilot service in Bromsgrove but if it’s a success, it’s something we would roll out across the whole of Worcestershire.”

The ’Worcestershire on Demand’ app is available on the Apple App Store and Google Play Store.

Residents will be able to select their pick up and drop off locations, and the app will direct them to a nearby virtual bus stop.

Councillor Karen May, leader of Bromsgrove District Council, said: “I’m delighted that Bromsgrove has been chosen as the first area in Worcestershire to pilot this new, innovative service.

“It’s a fantastic way to improve connectivity between the town centre and the surrounding villages.

“It will also be a boost for the local economy as people can now reach the town centre much easier.”

Councillor Adam Kent, deputy leader of Bromsgrove District Council, said: “The people of Bromsgrove and the surrounding villages are really going to benefit from this service as the buses will pick them up where they want to be picked up from and dropped off at a location they choose.

“It’s going to be a brilliant service and can be accessed by anyone. All people need to do is download the app like you do with Uber or other transport apps. So if you live in a rural road or lane, you can call one of these buses to come and pick you up and take you to the bus station or the train station.”

The first week of the service will be free with a flat rate of £2.50 going forward and in the near future, seasonal passes will be available.

Two Diamond mini-buses will be used on the service and they can each seat 13 passengers running initially from 7am to 7pm.

Bob Baker, managing director, Diamond Bus, added: “Diamond Bus are pleased to have been chosen by Worcestershire County Council to pilot this innovative new transport scheme in Bromsgrove, we are very much looking forward to welcoming new BODs passengers onboard when the service starts on Monday.

“We support schemes which champion Public Transport choices and strive to reduce car use and congestion in our towns and cities.

“We welcome the National Bus Strategy, the renewed focus it has given to improve Public Transport and we look forward to working closely with Worcestershire County Council and all stakeholders to try and deliver better bus services across Worcestershire.”