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"PISSTAKING" BUS ROUTE RESTORED

12-02-2010

The axed Birmingham bus route raised in parliament by MP John Hemming is being replaced by a new taxpayer-funded service, thanks to the regional transport authority Centro.

Hemming accused Gordon Brown of “taking the piss” and demanded an apology after the PM mocked him for raising the issue of the Number 41 in the Commons.

Whatever Brown’s view, this was clearly a matter of huge public concern – as we reported earlier this month, a public meeting at Fox Hollies Leisure Centre had to be cancelled because too many people turned up.

The service ran from Solihull to Acocks Green, taking in several schools and a health centre, and now Centro has agreed to restore a key part of the route by introducing the Number 40.

It will cover much of the original 41 route between Hall Green and Acocks Green but, at the request of residents and councillors, will also branch off to serve the Hall Green Health Centre on the Stratford Road.

Cllr Jon Hunt, lead member for bus and highways on Centro, said: “There has been a lot of strong feeling about the withdraw of the 41 and residents and councillors turned to us for help.

“We listened carefully to what they said and to what they wanted most from a replacement service and have used this to draw up the route of the 40.

“We really do encourage people to use the bus, however, as we will be monitoring passenger figures closely to make sure it provides value for money for the taxpayer.”

The new service, which will initially be subsidised until the end of October, will be operated on behalf of Centro by bus company AM PM Travel.

It will run every hour between 7.30am and 5pm Monday to Friday and 8.30am to 5pm on Saturday.

Centro is now making the necessary changes to bus stops along the route and will launch the 40 on Monday February 22.

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