BUS USERS have been dealt a massive blow after First Worcester confirmed the 144 will no longer go to Birmingham from the start of next month.
The service, which currently runs from Worcester to the Second City via Bromsgrove, Rubery and Droitwich, was first introduced as a route between Birmingham and Worcestershire in 1914.
From May 2, the service will terminate at Catshill meaning commuters, shoppers and sight-seers will have to find an alternative when they want to venture to their nearest biggest city.
In Bromsgrove, the railway station is a mile outside the town centre which would mean people having to use other buses, walking or cycling to get the train.
Coun Peter McDonald, who represents Rubery, said: “This is absolutely diabolical – it will cause so much disruption.
“People rely on that bus to get to work in Birmingham if they live in Rubery or Bromsgrove and vice versa.
“This could see carers, healthcare staff, shop assistants and other losing their jobs if they cannot get to work.”
It is understood subsidies have been cut and Coun McDonald called on Worcestershire County Council to step in immediately and provide the funding.
“I understand it may not be able to fund it all the way to Birmingham but it could at least make sure it gets to Rubery.”
Nigel Eggleton, Managing Director at First Worcester, said: “The upcoming service changes we have planned for May 1 are to re-align our bus network in accordance with how and when people are travelling across the working week and at weekends.
“As everyone will be aware the Covid pandemic has changed many things including, people working from home, flexible working patterns, confidence in being around public places and the use of other modes of travel to get around avoiding congested places – these have all had an impact on bus services in Worcester and throughout the country.
“Our 144 service has been established for many years and has served people very well, linking Worcester with Droitwich, Bromsgrove, Catshill and Birmingham.
“However for over 12 months now, we have carried very few people between Catshill and Birmingham, resulting in us having to make this difficult decision to remove the link to Birmingham.
“The changes planned for May 1 are to help improve reliability between locations along the route between Worcester and Bromsgrove and facilitate provision where there is consistent demand and use by customers.”
He added the operator was working closely with Worcestershire County Council and Transport for West Midlands to determine if there was any funding available to support the planned withdrawal of service between Catshill and Birmingham and First Worcester would update everyone with progress on these conversations soon.