Two Halesowen bus routes saved from the axe

Diamond Bus have revised plans to axe two popular Black Country bus routes after an outpouring of support from the public.

The company recently advised they would be withdrawing the 002 and 226 services from 15th April. However a spokesperson said they understood that the proposed cancellation of these services has caused concerns amongst customers.

Both routes will now be saved from full cancellation, but service changes will be put in place as follows:

Service 002 (Weoley Castle to Merry Hill via Halesowen)

  • Sunday services on this route will be withdrawn from 15th April. 
  • Monday to Saturday services will remain as they currently are.

Service 226 Merry Hill to Dudley

  • The service will undergo some timetable and route changes from 15th April.
  • The 226 service will revert to the old route, omitting Wall Heath.
  • Monday-Friday journeys will have some early morning journeys removed, with a 30-min frequency operating during the daytime.
  • Saturday services will be reduced to an hourly service throughout the daytime.
  • 226A Evening & Sunday services will be renamed back to 226 and remain as per current hourly timetable and route.

Changes will also come into effect on the 4 and 4H Walsall to West Bromwich & Hayley Green route:

  • From 15th April, all Sunday Services from these two routes will be withdraw .
  • Monday to Saturday services will remain as they currently are.

The spokesperson added: “These routes are Commercial Services which we operate without any level of subsidy.

“They are funded purely on the income through our ticket sales, the income received though accepting network cards and National Concessionary Passes. Unfortunately, all our Commercial Services are loss-making in the TfWM area. 

”Since COVID we have been working in partnership with Transport for West Midlands in the hope that these services would recover. Since the end of August 2022 we have continued to sustain losses. The decline in viability of these routes is linked to the escalation in labour and operating costs and the lack of income growth.

“In January 2023, service revisions were put in place to try and align the income and expenditure of these routes and improve their viability. This alignment has subsequently failed, and Diamond Bus has now reluctantly taken the decision to make some significant changes to these routes.

“These service will continue to be reveiwed in future to assertain their ongoing commercial viability, therefore we encourage people to support their local services to ensure they are able to be sustained and continue.”

Mayor of the West Midlands Andy Street posted on Facebook, adding, "Really pleased that the planned removals of 002, 4H & 226 bus routes have been reversed, thanks to some vociferous lobbying from James Morris (MP for Halesowen & Rowley Regis)  and his local team.

"Residents in the Black Country rely on these services, and I’m pleased Diamond have come to their senses.

"Their decision on the 45 route is deeply regrettable, but thanks to the campaigning of Nicola Richards (MP for West Bromwich East), local councillors & her constituents, Transport for West Midlands will now look to secure the funding required and an alternative operator so the service can continue after April. "


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