- West Midlands bus routes 340, 341 and 342
Overview Operator National Express West Midlands (Walsall Depot) Vehicle Volvo B6LE, Volvo B7RLE & Dennis Trident 2 Route Start Walsall Bus Station Via Birchills, Bentley, Lodge Farm, Willenhall & Neachells End Wolverhampton Bus Station41 Overview Operator National Express West Midlands (Walsall Depot) & Diamond Bus Vehicle Volvo B6LE, Volvo B7RLE & Dennis Trident 2 Route Start Walsall Bus Station Via Birchills, Bentley, Lodge Farm, New Invention and Lucknow Road End Willenhall, Union Street
- Pre-Deregulation - 341 operated by West Midlands Passenger Transport Executive at a half hourly Monday - Friday frequency and twenty minute Saturday frequency between Walsall and Willenhall.
- 1986 - Following deregulation, Midland Red North (Now Arriva Midlands), start operating an additional service between New Invention and Walsall in competition with then West Midlands Travel giving a combined twenty minute frequency.
- 1987 - In retaliation to the above move West Midlands Travel doubled their frequency on the 341, giving a ten minute combined link between New Invention and Walsall. As a result the Midland Red North service is withdrawn. It is known that by this stage West Midlands Travel are using branded MCW Metrobus on the route.
- 1988 - This move allowed West Midlands Travel to reduce its frequency to every 30 minutes once again. This did not prove successful as this frequency was unable to cope with passenger demand, often leaving passengers in the Short Heath area at bus stops. As a result the frequency was increased to every 20 minutes.
- 1990 - Chase Bus Services began operating an additional service from New Invention to Walsall at a half hourly frequency, the 364 (latterly 64). This service operated from slightly past New Invention to Coppice Farm and travelled via Beechdale instead of Lodge Farm, Bentley and Reedswood. This service remained in operation until mid-2008.
- 1991 - Chase Bus Services increases the frequency of its service 364 to every twenty minutes and introduced an additional service, the 365 travelling from Ashmore Park to Walsall via New Invention, Lodge Farm, Bentley and Reedswood.
- 1992 - West Midlands Travel begin operating on the two routes. Again this causes a reduction in frequency by Chase Bus Services and then by West Midlands Travel.
- Mid 1990s - West Midlands Travel introduce service 340, a quicker working of the 341.
- Early 2000s - Centro, the West Midlands Passenger Transport Executive launches a new subsidised service the 342, between Willenhall and Walsall. This is operated by Choice Travel.
- 2003 - Pete's Travel take over Choice Travel as operators on the 342.
- 2006 - A2Z Travel start operating on the 340 and 341 between Walsall and Willenhall at half hourly frequencies each. At the same time, Pete's Travel is merged with Diamond Bus.
- 2007 - A2Z Travel shorten their 341 workings to between Walsall and New Invention only.
- 2008 - A2Z Travel ended their operations on the 340 and reduced the frequency of the 341E to hourly. At the same time they are subsidised by Centro to extend the route to the Coppice Farm Estate to serve the area following the withdrawal of service 64.
- March 2009 - Centro announce plans to end the subsidy the 341E receives from the end of April. This prompts A2Z Travel to deregister the service from this date.
- 31 March 2009 - A2Z Travels licence is revoked. As such the 341E is withdrawn one month earlier than anticipated.
- 15 June 2009 - Due to changes to service allocations in the Walsall area, one duty on the 340/1, now follows on to an Evening Duty on another route and is therefore operated using a Volvo B10L Low Floor Bus everyday, introducing for the first time ever a low floor vehicle constantly allocated to the 340/1.
- 28 November 2009 - The last ever Walsall Metrobus operates the 6.10pm 341E service following a day of celebrations of the buses lives, having served Walsall for the past 30 years and operating on the 340/1 for the majority of these. From the same date, all journeys on the 340 & 341 are amended to operate via Blue Lane West & Green Lane, rather than Wolverhampton Street, to avoid congestion caused by cars trying to access the car park at Crown Wharf Retail Park.
- February 2010 - Following complaints about over-crowding on the buses, particularly in the evening peak, an additional bus is used on the service from 4.40pm. This enables each bus for the remaining 90-minutes of service to have 20-minutes lay-over between journeys in Walsall, with the theory being that each bus will then depart Walsall on time and over-crowding will not be an issue. In reality this does not occur, as the 37-seater B6LEs do not have enough capacity for the quantity of passengers. To enable this to occur, an additional bus is used on the service, having come off the 727 Aldridge Comprehensive - Leighswood school service.
- May 2010 - Double deck vehicles are reintroduced on the services.
- 24 July 2011 - As part of the Wolverhampton and West Walsall network review, the services are majorly changed. The 341 is the least affected, being just renumbered (41) and following a new timetable. The 340 becomes the 40, from Jane Lane this follows a different route through Bentley, before from Stroud Avenue following the old 333 route to Willenhall, and then the 529 route direct into Wolverhampton. An evening service is also introduced as far as Willenhall. Finally, the 342 is replaced by Diamond Bus 41 journeys. These do not enter the New Invention estate.
The 341 was operated by National Express West Midlands for at least 23 years using the same type of bus, the MCW Metrobus and did so up until 28 November 2009, when the last ever MCW Metrobus to run from Walsall operated the final 341E of the day to New Invention. However from June 2009, one Volvo B10L low floor single deck was allocated to the routes each day. This then went on to operate an evening duty on the 366 and 394 services (to Sutton Coldfield and Brownhills respectively). From early November 2009, when six of the remaining twelve MCW Metrobuses were withdrawn, the allocation was mostly Volvo B10Ls of both Alexander Ultra and Wright Liberator bodywork, with Volvo B6LEs and Volvo B7RLEs also making regular appearances. MCW Metrobuses did make regular appearances of the route for the rest of the month until their withdrawal on 28 November, leaving the route being operated by only low floor single decks.
From December, the most common vehicle used on the routes is the Volvo B6LE, which also began regularly operating the once B10L working. Despite this, officially the official allocation is Dennis Trident 2s, however, these only appear on the routes on Saturdays. From May 2010 following the North Walsall Network Review, Walsall Garage was finally able to make the services mostly double deck operated again.
No known changes are due.
Service 40, NXWM
Service 41 - NXWM & DIA
- Lodge Farm
- New Invention Estate (NX only)
- New Invention Square
- Ashmore Lake
- Official site (Only for National Express West Midlands)
- Network West Midlands
- West Midlands Buses (Only for National Express West Midlands)
Bus routes in the West Midlands Birmingham and Solihull Coventry Sandwell & Dudley Walsall Wolverhampton
79 126 529
Wikimedia Foundation. 2010.