Late night bus services to return at weekends

By Harriet Ernstsons 08/06 Updated: 11/06 12:38

Buy photos » First Bus. Picture by Nick Hands 5211009NHR3

EVENING bus services are set to return on Fridays and Saturdays.

Bosses from First Group have agreed to extend their 57 and 58 services until 11pm both days. They have stepped in after rival firm Diamond announced it was cutting evening services in January leaving Redditch without a bus service after 8pm. The company blamed a spate of attacks by stone throwing yobs.

The announcement comes following a public meeting to discuss the cuts, organised by Coun Rebecca Blake and attended by First, during which residents asked First to consider providing a late night service.

The changes will be introduced on July 27 and have been hailed 'an excellent step in the right direction' by Coun Blake.

"I was very pleased to learn they would be putting on evening buses and had taken on board some of the problems raised at the public meeting," she said.

"Before the evening buses return the Redditch Borough Council, working with the police and First, will work to address some of the previous anti-social behaviour problems which occurred last time to try and ensure the service remains and I hope is extended.

"I have made it clear to First people need these evening buses Monday to Thursday as well as Friday and Saturday and for a few buses to serve the Alexandra Hospital. This is an excellent step in the right direction and I thank First for listening to bus passengers."

A spokesman for First said the buses were being introduced on a trial basis, with an extension of the service throughout the week possible if the service was well used.

"We will be continually reviewing the service in terms of the number of people using it and that will determine whether we look at introducing additional journeys on other days on continuing the service," he said.

"This is a commercial decision for which we have received no funding so the whole success of the service will depend on passengers numbers. We have given them the service they want and now they need to use it."

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