FROM this weekend an improved seven days a week bus service will operate between Bromsgrove and Birmingham’s Queen Elizabeth Hospital.

The new, extended service 20 replaces service 144A on an hourly frequency Monday to Saturday between Bromsgrove bus station and the Queen Elizabeth Hospital in Birmingham via Rubery, Longbridge and Northfield. 

The enhanced service, which starts on Sunday, April 16, means passengers benefit from buses that start earlier and finish later, with services now also running every two hours on a Sunday.

Councillor Mike Rouse, cabinet member with responsibility for highways and transport at Worcestershire County Council, said: “My mission to secure and enhance bus services for Worcestershire is making good progress with the extension of this service, running on a Sunday, and improved regularity.

“These are the things people who use this service asked us for, and we listened to them before retendering the service. 

“Whilst I know some people will be anxious about the change to the number on the front of the bus, it is important we focus on the service and the benefits to passengers both in Worcestershire and in Birmingham first and foremost.”

In May last year, National Express West Midlands worked with Worcestershire County Council to mobilise a new 144A service, providing Bromsgrove residents with a bus link to Longbridge where they could change to frequent onward services to and from Birmingham.

The new service 20 replaces the 144A service which will be withdrawn.

David Bradford, managing director of National Express West Midlands, said: “We’re really pleased to be able to continue working with Worcestershire County Council to ensure that local communities do not lose their vital bus connections.

“We’re committed to making bus travel affordable and accessible to all and recently extended our £2 adult single and £1 single child ticket offer for another three months.

“And with our contactless capping, it means that customers can be assured they will never pay more than £4 a day, regardless of how many buses they catch.

“We hope that new and existing customers will take advantage of our new 20 service and great value tickets to ensure that the service goes from strength to strength.”

Councillor Karen May, leader of Bromsgrove District Council, said: “I really welcome the extension of this bus service to include a Sunday service.

“Whilst we recognise that some residents will be disappointed at the allocated number; this service will enable more of our residents to connect with the facilities and services in Birmingham whilst living in the lovely District of Bromsgrove.”

With tap and cap, National Express West Midlands passengers can make as many bus journeys as they like using the same contactless card or device and the bus operator caps the fare so passengers don't pay more than they should.

The 20 service will run from the QE hospital, Northfield, Longbridge, Rubery, Catshill and then to Bromsgrove Bus Station.

Meanwhile, the 20A service will run from the QE hospital to Northfield, Longbridge Technology Park and then to Rednal.