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 Post subject: Green Bus - update
PostPosted: Wed Oct 22, 2014 9:18 pm 
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Joined: Mon Oct 22, 2012 11:14 am
Posts: 329
I've been away from the forum during ds2's 11plus journey as I've been busy cooking ds4! Could someone update me on what's happening with the Green Buses. Luckily ds1 gets the number 22 to KEFW so I've not really kept up with it although I did hear they'd put up prices a lot and cancelled some routes.

Reason for asking is that ds2 has scored 215 making KEFW unlikely and BV and KEA possibilities. For KEA we'd be reliant on the Green Bus service and if it was to suddenly disappear we'd be a bit stuck.

Thanks.


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 Post subject: Re: Green Bus - update
PostPosted: Wed Oct 22, 2014 9:26 pm 
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Joined: Sun Jul 15, 2012 8:38 am
Posts: 1043
Location: West Midlands / warks border
My DS gets the newly named 884 to FW - it was the FW5.

During last year there was a problem that the subsidy was taken away and the Green Bus had to have a re think about their pricing and journeys, which also involved asking parents what they would like. One option to keep price down was to open service to public and maybe change the routes.

However, they compromised and decided to keep the routes more or less the same, but we did have to pay an extra amount on top of our original payment. I think this year is was £700 plus (can't remember exact figure.)

Also there were 2 buses that ran through Solihull/Shirley, but that has been reduced to one. ( all details of the routes can be found on their website)

It may be worth giving them a ring, I don't recommend sending an email as they never reply to them, well, not to mine anyway!


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 Post subject: Re: Green Bus - update
PostPosted: Wed Oct 22, 2014 9:27 pm 
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Joined: Sat Sep 14, 2013 9:14 am
Posts: 1186
muminbrum wrote:
I've been away from the forum during ds2's 11plus journey as I've been busy cooking ds4! Could someone update me on what's happening with the Green Buses. Luckily ds1 gets the number 22 to KEFW so I've not really kept up with it although I did hear they'd put up prices a lot and cancelled some routes.

Reason for asking is that ds2 has scored 215 making KEFW unlikely and BV and KEA possibilities. For KEA we'd be reliant on the Green Bus service and if it was to suddenly disappear we'd be a bit stuck.

Thanks.

I don't think The Green Bus will be making changes in the very near future- they've just tweaked their journeys to many parents' consternations. Unfortunately TGB is notoriously unreliable, expensive & the journeys unnecessarily long-winded BUT they're safe. Think carefully about distances involved - that's why I'm always stressing logistics. :roll:
I don't think services will be cut in the next couple of years but who knows?


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 Post subject: Re: Green Bus - update
PostPosted: Wed Oct 22, 2014 9:33 pm 
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Joined: Mon Oct 22, 2012 11:14 am
Posts: 329
We not that far away, just the other side of the city centre with no easy public bus routes. Train to aston and then walk could be an option in later years but a bit wary of it in Y7.


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 Post subject: Re: Green Bus - update
PostPosted: Wed Oct 22, 2014 10:38 pm 
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Joined: Thu Mar 14, 2013 6:30 pm
Posts: 583
We have used tgb for over three years and found it to be reliable, clean and safe. Journey time from solihull to kings heath just about 30mins too.


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 Post subject: Re: Green Bus - update
PostPosted: Wed Oct 22, 2014 11:42 pm 
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Joined: Sat Sep 14, 2013 9:14 am
Posts: 1186
sbarnes wrote:
We have used tgb for over three years and found it to be reliable, clean and safe. Journey time from solihull to kings heath just about 30mins too.

Raliable.....really??? I suppose 2 out of 3 isn't bad.
As per from Solihull to Kings heath - 30 mins? Again really?? Maybe as the crow flows :)
I would love others to give their HONEST views on TGB.


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 Post subject: Re: Green Bus - update
PostPosted: Thu Oct 23, 2014 6:10 am 
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Joined: Wed Jul 01, 2009 7:53 pm
Posts: 92
My DD is in year 11 at Camp Hill she gets the Green Bus from the Solihull area every day. The bus is normally very reliable although there have been a couple of 'hiccups' this year. Including one day when it broke down and the replacement did not get to school until after 10 oclock! On this occasion she had to be driven to school as she had a GCSE controlled assessment and didn't want to be late. I would agree the journey normally takes about 30 minutes.

My DS gets the 845 to KE Aston and so far this year this route has been problematic to say the least. The route should 'officially' take just under an hour (this never happens, on a good day it's 70 minutes, on a bad over 90). The past couple of weeks it does seem to have settled down a bit. However, during the first few weeks of term it was only on time twice! One day the driver stopped the bus and called police after an incident involving a member of the public boarding the bus and hitting a pupil, this cause a severe delay. There has been several changes of driver, some of them not knowing the route and ending up going the wrong way and having to ask the kids where to go! The bus has broken down a couple of times meaning my son has received late marks. There have been several days when he has not got home until 6pm. Several parents were even looking at clubbing together to pay for a daily taxi to and from school. A couple of my son's friends have got so fed up they are now getting a train into Birmingham and then one to Aston, followed by a short walk to school. I must say I am seriously considering this for my DS next year. The bus is very expensive compared to other public transport but it is safe. I would point out that the 'bus tracker system' they love to advertise rarely works. I have to pick my DS up from a stop which is a 20 minute walk from home so he has got into the habit of texting me when he is close to arriving so I don't have to sit in the car for hours waiting for him.

As another poster has said it is pointless writing or calling Green Bus to raise problems with them as they are full of excuses and really don't seem to care. It is such a shame because when my DD started at Camp Hill the service was fantastic, it just seems to have gone downhill over the last couple of years. This does seem to coincide with the removal of the subsidy they were receiving so I can only think that finances are a problem.

Sorry for the long post but I thought I'd put down some of my experience with Green Bus as it might help those making a decision on schools at the moment.


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 Post subject: Re: Green Bus - update
PostPosted: Thu Oct 23, 2014 3:56 pm 
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Joined: Thu Oct 18, 2012 9:10 am
Posts: 482
Our experience with the Green Bus is very mixed. Our son now catches the 886 to KEFW but originally caught the FW8. We used this service for half a term as they then withdrew it owing to low take up. This necessitated us moving to the FW7 which morphed into the 886 and added some 30 minutes onto the journey home. This was plagued with issues; lack of punctuality, poor behaviour on the bus, overcrowded, unreliable and a constantly changing driver. And don't get me started on the so called tracker :twisted: And I forgot to mention the journey where the driver was speeding and a overhanging tree came through the front upstairs window.

To be fair to them this half term has been better after routes were slightly changed - DS now is home sometimes before 5 pm - the norm last year was 5:25 :shock: It is a very safe option as the bu drops off and picks up from school and even though I think they are public buses, they are not really used by anyone others than pupils. However the tracker is still a joke and hardly works and the journeys are ridiculously long - dw can drive to KEFW in 35 minutes - the green bus can take 90 minutes.

I know some have concern with the cost -about £875 per annum - but for a dedicated s hool service I think that is reasonable.

The issue for parents of children waiting to apply for schools is can it be relied on to run for the duration. The answer is no. They receive a list of pupil postcodes and design routes accordingly, but if you live in an outlying area there is a real risk if one o two stop using it the service will be withdrawn from that area. When we were looking at schools, their 2013-14 routes included one from Dudley to KEA and one from Aston station to school. Neither of these were introduced as far as I am aware. Luckily I didn't like KEA so it didn't become an issue.

If you are looking at the Green Bus option just make sure you have a viable option b.


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 Post subject: Re: Green Bus - update
PostPosted: Thu Oct 23, 2014 4:46 pm 
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Joined: Thu Mar 14, 2013 6:30 pm
Posts: 583
Sorry Bob, I was under by 5 mins; thanks for the correction, well spotted.

Wow, this forum is certainly blessed with you looking out for slight mistakes :lol:

TGB still a wonderful service and best bit is its dedicated to just the one school, uber safe.


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 Post subject: Re: Green Bus - update
PostPosted: Thu Oct 23, 2014 5:12 pm 
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Joined: Wed Jul 01, 2009 7:53 pm
Posts: 92
Just a point worth mentioning is that some of the Green Buses that pick up/drop off at KE Aston (including the 845 which my DS gets) also serve KE Handsworth and Handsworth Grammar. This can impact on the timing of the service, for instance one evening the driver forgot to pick up at HGS and had to go back for them after picking up at Aston :roll: this made the service over 40 minutes late!


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