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NUMBER 11 BUS: Legendary circular bus route will be split in two

NUMBER 11 BUS: Legendary circular bus route will be split in two

Image: LDRS

The legendary number 11 bus route will be split in two from July 4 – partly due to delays in Perry Barr caused by ongoing works.

The step is intended to improve the service for 96 per cent of customers – but some customers will have to get off and get on a different bus in order to complete their journeys.

A temporary measure has been introduced where the route will be split into two overlapping routes until the work is completed – expected to be in the autumn.

The route – which has run since 1926 and is Europe’s longest urban bus route at 25 miles – connects outer suburbs of the city and has run in a continuous loop.

Buses are due to run every eight minutes but delays of up to an hour have been occurring at Perry Barr, where road works are taking to place as part of a £700 million regeneration of the area.

Delays of more than 20 minutes are “common” at other points along the route, according to a briefing note from Transport for West Midlands seen by the Local Democracy Reporting Service.

The note states: “National Express have reported that it has become almost impossible to maintain reliability and to provide an acceptable level of service to their customers.

“Often, the only recourse available when a bus has been significantly delayed is to take it out of service and ‘adjust’ it by instructing the driver to run out of service to another point on the route.

“This further creates gaps in service and exacerbates those caused by late buses.”

The anticlockwise route (11A) will now split at Acocks Green and again at Perry Barr with a stop change at Erdington – from Wood End Road to Sutton New Road.

The clockwise route (11C) will split at Erdington and again at Acocks Green and buses will run along Hamstead Road, Church Hill Road and Birchfield Road between Handsworth and Perry Barr to avoid congestion on Wellington Road.

National Express West Midlands has confirmed anyone changing buses in Acocks Green, Perry Barr or Erdington will not need to buy two separate tickets and should show the current ticket to the driver to continue at no additional cost.

Every section of the route will be served in both directions.

More information is available on the National Express website: https://nxbus.co.uk/west-midlands/service-updates/11a11c-outer-circle-route-changes

Opposition groups on Birmingham City Council have criticised the council leadership for the disruption.

Liberal Democrat group leader Cllr Jon Hunt (Lib Dem, Perry Barr), said: “The council promised Perry Barr would be the best connected part of the city – and yet north Birmingham has now lost access to one of Europe’s best established bus routes, the number 11, because of the ill conceived transport works.

“It’s not enough that Perry Barr flyover was pointlessly demolished. The work on the Birchfield Roundabout has taken forever and we are still waiting for the ‘topping off’ that is the key part of the work. No wonder the bus company has given up waiting for the work to be completed.

“The leader of Birmingham City Council promised to make people ‘get out of their cars’. In fact he has forced them to ‘get off the bus’ because bus services cannot function properly.”

Cllr Timothy Huxtable (Con, Hall Green South), shadow cabinet member for transport and the environment said: “The Number 11 bus service has served the people of Birmingham for 95 years, connecting suburbs across the city and providing a reliable means of travel for work, school and leisure.

“It is Europe’s longest urban bus route and iconic amongst Brummies, carrying more than 50,000 a day.

“Sadly Labour’s counter-productive transport policies, which were pushed forward despite several warnings about negative consequences such as this, have created the death of the Number 11 as a circular service.”

Cllr Robert Alden (Con, Erdington), leader of the Conservative Group, said: “Labour ignored the warnings that public transport is being badly affected by their proposals but instead ploughed ahead.

“Now it is the residents of Birmingham who are suffering from the loss of the circular aspect due to the impact of their road changes.”

In response, Cllr Waseem Zaffar, cabinet member for transport and environment at Birmingham City Council, said: “As a result of the roadworks in Perry Barr, which include the changes being made to accommodate the new Sprint bus service, as well as the renovation of the Perry Barr Station, work being carried out by the Tory Mayor, the Number 11 route is temporarily changing.

“This is so that National Express can continue to offer the most reliable service possible to all Birmingham passengers.

“Whilst the Tories and the Lib Dems are spreading scare stories, I have assurances from National Express that the iconic Number 11 route will be restored in its entirety when these key works are completed, which is due to be in the autumn.

“Birmingham’s Labour Council is delivering on its plans to improve public transport across the city, whilst also tackling the public health emergency that dirty air is causing.”

Words: Mark Cardwell, Local Democracy Reporter


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