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Plea to re-route the 'ghost' buses; EDGBASTON: Complaints over hospital services travelling all way down road.

Byline: By Poppy Brady

"GHOST" buses carrying no passengers are travelling along a narrow street in Edgbaston causing a danger to pedestrians, residents claim.

The 636 and 637 services go through Birmingham Women's Hospital site but most days are completely empty.

Now Metchley Park Residents' Assocation are calling for the route to be changed.

They want to know why the service cannot only travel halfway down Metchley Park Road and turn around, as other hospital buses do.

The problems are caused by part of Metchley Park Road being on the hospital campus, while the other half is much narrower and is in a residential area.

Assocation chairman Graham White said: "We watch the 636 and 637 service coming along here every three and four minutes and half the time the buses are completely empty.

"We know that pantechnicons twice the size of these buses turn outside the Women's Hospital and return along the hospital side of Metchley Park Road to Metchley Lane, so why can't they?"

Geoff Oates, who is chairman of Edgbaston Residents' Association, added: "The second part of Metchley Park Road is far too narrow - there's already been one accident between a bus and a car."

But Julie Burgess, chief executive of the hospital, said: "Many of our patients do not have private cars and rely on public transport. We were concerned that pregnant women with young families and patients with continence problems were having a ten minute journey to get to us from public transport links. We feel that, thanks to West Midlands Travel, we have created a solution and we've received many comments that the 636 service is of great benefit to patients and visitors."

Stuart Henry, corporate affairs manager for Travel West Midlands, said: "Once the hospital construction work is complete, there may be other options to reroute this service.

"We would obviously work closely with all our partners to explore any alternatives at that stage."

CAPTION(S):

'DANGER'... Geoff Oates (left) and Graham White in Metchley Lane as a 637 bus goes by.
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Publication:Birmingham Mail (England)
Date:Jul 3, 2007
Words:339
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