A new rural bus service is to be launched for south Solihull.
The No89 comes into operation on Monday September 5 and will operate in the Meriden Gap between Solihull and Coventry.
It replaces the Heart of England Taxibus, which has operated since 2004.
The new service is being introduced by Transport for West Midlands (TfWM) and follows a review of the Taxibus, where residents rang and booked a place on the bus which would then collect them.
Jon Hayes, head of network delivery for TfWM, said: “In many ways the Taxibus was successful but some passengers found the need to pre-book every journey inconvenient and wanted to make journeys without the need to book in advance.
“Having analysed all of the journeys made over a period of several weeks and reviewed all of the passenger feedback we concluded one new, larger, vehicle, carefully timed, could serve nearly all existing users and also attract new passengers.”
The No 89 will run between Coventry, Balsall Common, Berkswell, Meriden, Hampton in Arden, Solihull Hospital and Solihull town centre as a regular bus service without the need to pre-book.
Balsall Common and Meriden are designated ‘roaming zones’ where the bus will deviate off its fixed route to pick up and drop passengers wherever they like, subject to access.
Passengers wanting to be picked up or dropped off close to their front door simply need to phone ahead in advance. Alternatively they can wait at bus stops within these villages.
The service will be operated under subsidy by iGo and all buses will be fitted with Wi-Fi.
Particular benefits of the new service will be:
- Regular bus service between Meriden and Balsall Common
- Regular bus service to Berkswell
- Regular bus service to Solihull Hospital
- Morning and afternoon journeys timed to serve Heart of England school in Balsall Common
Mr Hayes said: “Bus services are an important lifeline for the rural community and we are delighted that the No 89 will fulfil a proven need in the Meriden Gap.
“We would encourage people to use this new service and look forward to seeing passenger numbers grow.”