By Harriet Ernstsons 15/06 Updated: 15/06 10:47
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 on a trial basis.
They 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.
“Before the evening buses return the council, working with the police and First are trying to address some of the previous anti-social behaviour problems which occurred last time,” she said.
“I have made it clear to First, people need evening buses Monday to Thursday as well as Friday and Saturday and for a few buses on this route to serve the Alexandra Hospital.”
Work has already begun to cut back overgrown greenery in areas identified as anti-social behaviour hotspots including those in Winyates, Church Hill and Woodrow.
PC Alan Bolton, local policing officer for Smallwood and Southcrest, said they would be working with First to ensure CCTV was working on all buses and Community Support Officers were briefed about timetables so they could look out for potential problems.
“It is about prevention, not cure, so we will be working with them to try and ensure anyone who, for example is drunk, does not get on the bus.”
But First bosses have warned the introduction is on a trial basis and will only be able to continue if people support it.
An extension of the service throughout the week may also be possible if the service is heavily used.
Senior controller Malcolm Egan said: “Passengers need to use it and use it properly. We want to just make sure people can get from A to B safely so it is crucial people use it to enable us to keep the service going.
A First spokesman added: “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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