Bilbrook Parish Council is extremely disappointed that the decision to make changes to the No. 5 bus service has been taken without consultation with us. Buses are a vital part of Bilbrook’s infrastructure and are relied upon by Bilbrook residents to get to Wolverhampton for work, shopping, education, healthcare, leisure or onward journeys. Reducing both the times and frequency of the service will have a devastating impact on the lives of our residents.
The Parish Council understand the decision to award the daytime and Saturday services to Banga Buses cannot be reversed. The Parish Council will therefore liaise with Banga Buses to ensure they provide a reliable service to Bilbrook residents.
The Parish Council will also liaise with Staffordshire County Council to ensure they are doing their utmost to increase the frequency and extend the times the buses run. We understand that additional services could be operated by Banga Buses, National Express Buses or another party.
The Parish Council would like to thank Bilbrook residents who came to our parish meeting on Wednesday to voice their concerns over the change to the No 5 bus service. The public forum at Parish Council meetings is always an opportunity for residents to raise concerns. Your concerns and suggestions have been passed to Staffordshire County Councillor Bob Spencer to raise with the relevant departments. Residents requests for a meeting with Cllr Bob Spencer have also been passed to him. The Parish Council suggests that any further concerns should be directed to Staffordshire County Council Public Transport Team: – email@example.com and copy County Councillor Bob Spencer.
The information we currently have (as of 9th October 2023) is as follows:-
Statement from Staffordshire County Councillor Bob Spencer.
Thank you for your email. I have been in regular contact with our ‘connectivity team’ who are the people who deal with all forms of public transport in Staffordshire. Unfortunately, I can’t make Wednesday’s meeting as I have a prior appointment. However, can I provide the following information for any concerned residents.
As I’m sure you know, councils don’t run buses, bus companies run buses and we don’t ‘give out’ contracts. These decisions are commercial decisions, akin to the recent bank branch closures we’ve seen in our villages. They are commercial organisations making commercial decisions.
It is worthy of note that National Express, who previously ran the service, withdrew stating it was simply not commercially viable. The number of people using the service, particularly off-peak had reduced significantly, an issue common to all forms of public transport. A legacy of post-Covid working from home, amongst other things.
I have been in negotiation with our liaison officers and there may be an opportunity to tender for the off-peak service. Unfortunately, while we have an existing provider it is illegal to tender for the entire service. Naturally, this provision would involve some form of subsidy. We are in the process of establishing precisely the demand, but I anticipate a decision will be made this week. I am pushing hard for a positive outcome. I will get back to you once I get an answer.
Banga Buses are taking over the No. 5 service from National Express on Monday 6th November. Bus Passes for older or disabled residents will be valid on these buses. Below are pictures of the fleet which have been upgraded since Banga buses served Bilbrook around 15 years ago.
The link below takes you to their page to access the latest timetable. The Woodman Inn is the stop for Bilbrook.
We believe there is an error on the Saturday timetable (dated the 5th October) and are waiting for Banga buses to get back to us on this.
The main changes are to:
- the frequency of the buses. It has gone from one every 30 minutes through Bilbrook to one every hour.
- the times the buses run
- There is no service on a Sunday
- The first bus from Bilbrook is at 7:07 a.m. & the last bus at 6:07 p.m. (Currently times are 6:00 a.m. and 11:45 p.m.)
- The first bus from Wolverhampton to Bilbrook is at 7:00 a.m. and the last is at 6:00 p.m. (Currently 6:20 a.m. and 11:30 p.m.)