Sunday, August 14, 2005
Travel West Midlands Slightly Wound-Up
You've got to admire Travel Wind-up Merchants (or Travel West Midlands as they like to be known). After providing a sub-standard service on the 50 route where they face no competition from the railways, they have suddenly introduced a summer special ticket (on the 50 route only) of a £1.10 return after 9.30pm. This comes after re-introducing inspectors on the route in town who as well as checking tickets space the buses so that they don't all come at the same time (sometimes as many as eight previously). Sincee this has been happening, we know longer have queues going halfway down cars lane (which is useful, because the refurbishment of M&S means there isn't much pavement left anyway).
The reason? A new 50 service that started a few months back from the People's express (no relation to the People's Republic) who have fares of 75p one-way and Â£1 return, halving the cost of a trip to town.
It's amazing what a little competition will do.
Presumably Travel West Midlands will keep this up until they have put the new service out of business, and then revert back to normal. They have already seen off competition on this route twice, first buying out Your Bus, and then using the inspector trick to finish off Pete's Travel. Given the lack of availability of Travelcard agents in Kings Heath (who seem to have the Travelcard machines perpetually out of order) the People's Republic are hopeful that this time, the reverse might happen.
But somehow we doubt it.