News is filtering through about the turnout for the "big demo". According to a local contact, "take away the media and the politicians and there were hardly more than 20 present". Blog readers may come to their own conclusions.
And the First shall be Last ...
55 / 56 Crabbs Cross & Oakenshaw [First]
Certainly, catching the more frequent 57 straight down Studley Road would be far quicker that a tour round Redditch's south western developments, picturesque (?) though they be!
The 55/56 routes also serve the Tesco Extra store just off leafy Coldfield Lane.
57 / 58 Matchborough [First and Diamond]
First operates "frequently" Monday to Saturday daytimes, finishing at about 2000. Buses run every 20 minutes during Sunday daytimes. Diamond advertise every 7 and 8 minutes Monday to Friday, every 15 on Saturday and every 20 on Sunday with a finish at about 1800. On Sundays, one of Diamond's 58s runs (every hour) as a 58A via the Hospital.
It would seem likely, therefore, that Diamond will recast the 51 Batchley and 57/58 Matchborough routes to reduce costs. They have promised to "maintain existing services"; whatever that might mean. fbb wonders whether the poor residents of Redditch, hitherto deprived of any evening local buses, might expect Diamond to extend operation until 2300 on the more popular routes. There have been vandalism problems in the past.
"And here endeth the lesson" as far fas First is concerned. These three blocks of service are all that was left in First's Redditch town route portfolio; almost everything else "local" is run by Diamond Bus. To avoid arousing the ire of Redditch experts (are there any?), fbb must add that longer distance routes ply some of the traditional main roads, and First's route 143 provides some local links ...