CENTRO are planning a shake up of bus services in Halesowen, Blackheath, Oldbury, Rowley Regis and Cradley Heath.

Across Sandwell Centro are set to change bus routes, change bus numbers and alter services so passengers will be able to get to hospitals and shopping centres easier.

The shake up comes after a major review of bus services by transport authority Centro, bus operators, Sandwell Metropolitan Borough Council and Birmingham City Council.

The big winners will be patients of Rowley Regis Hospital who will get improved and more frequent services to the hospital and residents of Langley, Bristnall and Lawrence Lane who will get new services. The raft of changes include the 404, 404a, 404h and 417 being rep[laced by the 4, 4H and 4M which will improve links from Halesowen, Cradley Heath and Blackheath to Rowley Regis Hospital and Merry Hill, the 419 and 459 being renamed the 19 for improved links from West Bromwich to Oldbury. The new 20 bus will replace the 200 and 201 route and provide better provision for Brandhall, Warley and Oldbury. The 24 will replace the 224 route and will now be extended to Merry Hill.

Cllr Roger Horton, lead member for Sandwell on Centro, said: “This has been a massive public consultation exercise over three months with exhibitions and community meetings.

“Centro and its partner organisations have worked hard to establish a new, simpler to understand bus network that gets people to where they want to get to, when they want to go.”

Over 200 new bus shelters will also be built, more electronic displays with live bus information and reworked timetables in a bid to provide more punctual and evenly spaced services.”

Cllr Kath Hartley, Centro’s Lead Member for Putting Passengers First, said: “This review will mean great improvements for people travelling, visiting, living and working in Sandwell and surrounding areas.

“It offers a network fit for 21st century bus users in the borough, utilising modern technology, providing more buses that give the best possible service and a viable alternative to the private car.”

The new network will be signed up to as part of a three year partnership deal with bus operators, Sandwell Council and Centro that will attract millions of pounds of additional investment in the network.

Before the changes come into force on October 28 a series of exhibitions are being held to inform passengers of how they will be affected.

There are being held on Saturday, October 20, from 2pm to 5pm at Cradley Heath Interchange, Wednesday. October 24, between 10am and 4pm at the NWM marquee in Oldbury, Thursday, October 25, from 2pm to 6pm at NWM marquee at Sainsbury’s, Blackheath and then back in Oldbury by Sainsbury’s from 11am to 3pm on Thursday, November 1.

For more information on the changes visit www.networkwestmidlands.com/busreview.