New Bus Route Week Day 1: Route 100

Monday 20th February 2023

This week is New Bus Route Week on the BusAndTrainUser blog. In contrast to all the negative news about bus routes being withdrawn or threatened with cuts due to lack of funding I’ve been out and about sampling recently introduced bus routes and will celebrate their arrival with a post every day this week.

First up is route 100 financed by Telford & Wrekin Council. This hourly service operated by Chaserider was rather oddly introduced in the week before Christmas on 19th December, so has had a couple of months to bed in and attract passengers.

The idea behind it is to provide residents in parts of Telford and Wellington with an improved journey time with a direct bus to the three main business and industrial areas of the town as well as a better link to Telford Priory School.

The route also serves Princess Royal Hospital in Wellington and terminates at Wellington’s bus station conveniently located adjacent to the railway station.

However, the route studiously avoids central Telford and its bus station as well as passing by Telford Central railway station, but not calling in there, which strikes me as an odd decision.

The route includes three of Telford’s southern residential areas – Brookside (not that one), Madeley and Sutton Hill but nowhere else, other than central Wellington and the nearby residential area of Leegomery.

The three business parks served are circled.

The route uses the town’s fast distributor roads not normally used by buses to provide quick access between the areas served. It takes two buses which have been funded by Telford & Wrekin Council with an hourly timetable running daily from 04:50 to 23:02 (yes, even on Sundays).

I took a ride on the 12:55 departure from Wellington bus station. I appreciate this is not a busy time for typical weekday working hours but I thought it might attract passengers on shift work at the business parks.

But it didn’t.

We only carried five passengers. Two boarded at Wellington bus station one of whom was going to work at the business park at Hortonwood, 12 minutes away while the other travelled all the way to the southern terminus in the Madeley residential area almost 55 minutes away.

A third travelled from Princess Royal Hospital just a few stops to the adjacent residential area of Leegomery, a fourth made the seven minute journey from the Brookside residential area to the Halesfield business park and the fifth was a concessionary passholder making a local journey within Madeley.

It’s obviously still early days for the new route but the omens for off peak patronage don’t look too encouraging. Maybe peak journeys will prove popular so lower numbers travelling in the off peak can be sustained, but I can’t envisage many passengers travelling at 04:50 on a Sunday morning.

Both buses on the route cross in the Stafford Park business park at 18/19 minutes past the hour and when we arrived at 13:18 a car was parked in the bus stop lay-by with relief drivers for both buses as a change of shifts was obviously timely.

There’s a route map and a very detailed timetable available online with the latter also displayed at bus stop F in Wellington’s bus station.

The bus carries a Travel Telford brand name which is also evident in some bus shelters ….

…. together with the Council’s bus logo which I find rather child like in presentation, but perhaps that’s deliberate.

When introduced it was reported route 100 is the first of four new bus routes to be funded and introduced by the Council and sure enough on 9th January route 101 arrived on the scene. I didn’t travel on that but saw one of the buses passing us in the bus station with no-one on board.

Route 101 is operated by Select Bus and links the area’s various Academies and Colleges (rather than business parks) with four residential areas – Lawley, Horsehay, Brookside and Madeley. It runs hourly between 07:00 and 20:00.

Routes 102 and 103 (and 104/105) are aimed more at Telford and Wellington”s northern rural hinterland and begin next Monday (27th). There’s a map and timetables on the Council’s website. The 104/105 are peak hour school journeys only while the 102 is approximately two hourly and the 103 runs six return journeys a day.

102 is light blue, 103 pink, 104 yellow and 105 dark blue

Route 100 is a one year contract with the other routes on a two year arrangement. I’d like to think they’ll become permanent additions to the bus network in this area, but I’m not very optimistic they’ll generate enough passengers.

Likely long term success rating: 3/10.

Roger French

Next New Bus Route Week blog posting tomorrow from the Lancashire and Merseyside border.

31 thoughts on “New Bus Route Week Day 1: Route 100

Add yours

  1. I have a colleague who works on the 100 route & reports its as empty in the peaks as when Roger used the service. Telford like Redditch is an god awful place no one really choses to live there by choice and is basically like the 100 designed by planners who believe they know best in regard to buses rather than the people who actually use them. I know Redditch better and like Telford the road network buses have to navigate was obviously designed by someone who had never been on a bus in thier life!

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Sounds like all the planning was done by someone ex TfL…no doubt a consistent frequency was suggested ‘so as not to confuse passengers ‘ and to provide a ‘simple network ‘. Also odd that a route operating at this sort of frequency misses both the bus and train station where useful connections can be made. I assume that this is service tendered by the local authority and that they keep the revenue so the operator has no incentive to change anything just like in London …

    Liked by 1 person

    1. It is Martin under tender , No operator would launch a commercial service such as this its very much local authority driven. It was launched with great fanfare with a lot of publicity on both BBC MIDLANDS TODAY & ATV TODAY. Its interesting that the contract was awarded to the totally useless Chaserider who are completely unable to run a full service in Cannock let alone Telford!


  3. Telford and Wrekin Council have, or at least did until Covid struck, operated quite a network of services in their rural hinterland, and I assumed these to be much upgraded replacements. As is often the case, or perhaps I am not sharp enough to look in the right places, it was always difficult to find any particular information about them (route numbers 14/16/17/18/19/102/103/WR69/WR70 requiring two/three vehicles). I have no idea whether these are still operating (highly doubtful), or indeed whatever date they were withdrawn if no longer running. But I guess publicity is hard to come by, and as is so often the case, will wither on the vine merely because so few intending passengers are even aware of their existence.


  4. My thoughts on these new services:

    They should all serve the central rail station with timetabled connections, this expands the employment catchment area for the industrial estates. Same applies to serving the central bus station.

    Has the council reached out to the major employers? Questions to ask should include “what are your shift change times?” “Can we provide publicity for you to pass to all your employers?” Can we create a discount season ticket loan scheme for you” etc.

    Using the main distributor roads for direct and fast services could be better marketed as “Rapid” or “Xpress” etc.

    ALL bus stops should have the new branding.

    The BBC article about Stoke-on-Trent referenced warehouse jobs being minimum wage, car ownership bring unaffordable , and the high percentage of non car ownership. Hello bus industry, here are your customers, offer them something usable. Hello councils, these are your residents, offer them something usable, it will help your economy, it is an INVESTMENT.


  5. These routes seem to sum up what usually happens when bureaucrats spend public money that is “allocated”. They respond to what looks good in a PowerPoint deck as appealing to other bureaucrats. Not what will be attractive to real people with real needs in the numbers that are needed to justify investment.


  6. Don’t many (if not most) bus routes struggle for passengers at most times? There isn’t a magic wand to conjure up passengers. It can be done, but I’d suggest the answer is different from place to place depending on local circumstances; and even in some cases the opposite to what it is in others.

    My street and locality is an example, we’ve increased frequencies dramatically for as long as we could without going bust, improved reliability, publicity, and branding, even a £2 fare or OAP pass hasn’t encouraged anyone on to the bus. The residents who used to use the bus, don’t any longer. It’s a “core”, longstanding interurban route linking two major towns in the County. We are not unique. Car availability and use has, and continues to, increase expotentially.

    It’s all about not losing existing passengers, not gaining new ones. Of necessity.

    Buses, however much we as tourists or national operators might wish it were otherwise, are perhaps a local, not so much a national, market.

    In various places, if there is a general principle, I’ve found that it’s reducing the network and cutting frequencies is the easiest way to increase patronage on what remains. It can cut the bugbears of congestion and unreliability too. Sorry. I know it’s not what we want to hear.

    Cambs is going to be a lovely experiment. The Mayor wants to provide a comprehensive and frequent bus network before introducing a congestion charge, and he’d better. I hope Jeremy Hunt has deep pockets. He’ll need them. For everywhere else too. Suggestions on what else to cut welcome. The NHS, education and Police budgets perhaps? And perhaps much of the rail network. Rail users can use the bus. Nice views from the upper deck.


    1. Two clarifications, I don’t think bus demand is regional either, it can vary not just from town to town, but between routes. Some met areas can be exceptions, of course; but they are not not the rule.

      Secondly its not just the number of cars, but their size. We increasingly resemble 1950s America. Consumption is our god. We don’t buy a gas guzzler not to use it. Been there, done that.


    2. Whilst I agree with most of what you say, I don’t believe car use is increasing exponentially. Indeed, whilst traffic levels seem back to normal, they are still lower than before the pandemic. We also have the largest number of 17-26 year olds on record who don’t have a driving licence. More of a threat is Uber, particularly if two people travel together and pay less than the equivalent bus fare.


  7. My guess is that services 100 and 101 avoid Telford town centre and Telford Central Station so as not to undermine existing commercial services.

    The forthcoming 102 and 103 seem a better idea, restoring links in areas almost unserved by buses up to now. I think Telford and Wrekin Council deserve some credit for filling in gaps – the reasoning in this news release seems sound:


    1. I’m not sure that’s uncommon. Shortly I have the opportunity to use the bus. But the convoluted muddle of what I can or can’t use, when and where, is off-putting.

      Yes, it’s all on-line. Too much of it. What is current, and what is out of date or missing? I don’t know. Much of it seems to be produced for kids with the mentality of a five year old (though I think it’d have been insulted at that age). A comic.

      Just perhaps, we ought to aim to get any passenger, on any bus, and seize the chance as an opportunity; and rather less on protecting our territory; from what, exactly? The common herd?


    2. I think any sound bites or press releases by local authorities & should be quite simply be treated with a pinch of salt or perhaps Ash from a palm given today given the personal experience I have with regulatory authority in my home city with the reform of all operator tickets which seems to be lacking despite reports to the contrary underming the financial stability of local bus operators and its consequent effect on commercial services.


      1. its good that they are trying to help workers but some of the rural routes that they are starting next week were serviced pre covid by the councils own smaller buses why bring in buses from cannock to take over from them , not economical in my eyes


  8. A perfect example is the following Birmingham City Services are actually ahead of pre Covid-19 levels with many standing loads conversly many Black Country services are still well below the pre Covid-19 levels in West Midlands County therefore frequencies and services have been reviewed to satisfy demand in Walsall, Wolverhampton & Dudley & before anyone tells me Diamond Bus are axing routes in the county from April this is simply due to a row between Rotala & TfWM about the Dudley & Sandwell Low Fare Zone & its lack of reform in reimbursements as we saw also last year with West Midlands Bus


  9. The routes seem to server no real purpose. They serve the hospital and Industrial area so may get the odd passenger to there but most journeys probably dont even serve there needs and outside the main start and finishing times the passenger numbers will be close to zero

    Only transport planners who have never set foot on a bus would come up with those routes

    Chances of success close to zero. They may tinkering around with them a bit to try to boost passengers numbers but that will not help. They will be gone when the funding runs out


    1. Looks to me that they are aimed at the industrial area workers, Bob.

      The service pattern starts at both ends at 0500 for the 0600 start/finish, and the 2200 one as well meaning a 2300 end, so covering the traditional three shift systems. However, it can also be used for people on more traditional 0800-1600 or 0900-1700 or other daytime variations and work patterns. The route links the major employment areas (i.e. Halesfield, Stafford Park) and other major employers such as MOD Donnington and the Hospital, with many of the residential areas e.g. Madeley, Wellington in the conurbation except those on the Western side.

      It would be interesting to understand how much promotion there has been with those major employers, agency labour providers, etc in order to publicise the service.

      I don’t think it will succeed but it does seem fairly clear what the actual aim is.


  10. Another issue i’d say is the fact that the buses for all routes above deadrun from either Penkridge or Cannock. Which probably isn’t going to be sustainable with the fuel prices at the moment.


    1. I think the wise and sound words of Simon should be noted and accepted by all on this forum as very sound guidance on the operation of stage carriage bus services across the West Midlands Region in the current climate.


  11. its great that the new 103 105 etc are going to be connecting rural areas, but this has come at a cost of losing other much needed community buses that many elderly and disabled need as a lifeline to get out, for clubs shopping and socialising, causing alot of loneliness and isolation


  12. I work in the telford area as a bus driver and pass these new buses 100 101 , at many different times of the day and night and the most i see on them has been 4. To bring these buses every day from cannock to me is not environmentally friendly. The other new bus routes that they will provide in rural areas is great. But elderly people who need community buses have been forgotton as these services have been cut


    1. It’s a good point. Successful businesses, in any walk of life, work with their customers, not against them.

      Few older or disabled people grew up in an environment in which everything was done for them. Now we make them ask for everything, and make it as difficult as possible. The one thing they want more than anything is not to be any trouble to anyone. Exactly what we make them, and make sure they know it.


  13. Combus might be disappointed that his employer Arriva is not running the new Telford routes but why is that? Presumably they did not tender/were too expensive/were short of drivers? If the winning ( and other?) operators had not tendered were Telford just not going to introduce bus routes that they see as important? So two other operators from neighbouring towns were successful. Why should that ‘not be sustainable’? Has Simon any knowledge of the cost of dead running versus setting up two new depots in Telford? Both of the tenderers are real world businesses and if they get they pricing wrong they won’t survive.

    Peter Hale gets it right when he notes that it appears the aim is not to dilute passenger numbers on commercial services as none of the routes serve the rail station or Telford Town Centre. A real dilemma for the Council. What should they do? Answers on a postcard please.


    1. Ha Ha yes I think Simon does have a bit of knowledge on costings in the bus industry somewhat to answer an interested observer! There again so do I from my days at Midland Red West when we used run dead from Kiddy to do the Dudley locals!


  14. As any decent bookkeeper will tell us. Take the money. Never mind where it comes from, or what the effect on anyone or anything else.

    As every fighter knows, you win by attacking the person; not by engaging in a debate.

    We know.

    But it doesn’t mean we can’t look at the larger picture. It’s why our predecessors came out of their caves in the first place to live in societies. If some of us want to go back, fine. The rest of us don’t have to join you.

    So let me try and look at the big picture. Now we have sold their assets, and done very nicely out of it, thank you; perhaps the commercial bus company has had its day. We can try to prop it up and maintain the lifestyle of its adherents, with ever larger dollops of taxpayer wedge; or is there another way?

    Perhaps buses should become part of the charity sector, which might give us greater flexibility in provision. All us concerned people can have the opportunity to put our money where our mouth is. And we can move back closer to where we started, where the local bus becomes an ancillary part of local commercial businesses. Encourage social responsibility. Not just a slogan. Local buses for local needs. The Government can help with tax reliefs, perhaps more effective than central diktats and the bribes which have to be offered all the time to so we can get an offer we can’t refuse. Government intervention, national or local, is so often the kiss of death to anything.

    Perhaps it wasn’t so much privatising the National Bus Company that was the wrong idea, as the idea of the NBC bureaucracy.

    Well, at least I’ve given the opportunity for every vested interest to crawl out from under the woodwork!

    How about it? Or have we just destroyed too much of what once made our society already?


  15. Pretty similar to when I rode the 100 the other week. I want to see both this and the other new services succeed but I fear that those working in the industrial estates (my Dad worked on Halesfield before retiring ) have long accepted the need to use a car to get there.


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

Blog at

Up ↑

%d bloggers like this: