Coventry’s 360 goes full circle back to separate services

News stories are free to read. Click here for full access to all the features, articles and archive from only £8.99.

The City Circle 360 service in Coventry is to be restructured as a result of insufficient passenger numbers.

The service, operated by Travel de Courcey of Coventry, loops round Coventry and links some of the city’s key locations on one route, including University Hospital, Jaguar Land Rover and the University of Warwick.

Following a review of patronage by Centro, the public transport delivery arm of the West Midlands Integrated Transport Authority (ITA), the 360 is to be broken-up into three separate services from July 23. Steve Hayes, Network Development and Delivery Manager for Centro said the Number 360 is subsidised by the ITA but low passenger numbers meant ‘it was not meeting tough rules allowing the use of taxpayers’ money to support bus services.’

The 31.5-mile service was the longest continuous urban bus route in Europe, taking the title from the 26-mile no.11 Outer Circle service running through Birmingham and Bearwood in the Black Country.

In October 2013, a total of 13,714 passengers were carried, while in the same period in 2015 it was 13,949 – an increase of 235.

“Since its launch the City Circle service has not succeeded overall in growing patronage,” said Steve Hayes.

“The western segment of the route in particular has failed to attract new passengers.

“We are obliged to get best value when using public money to subsidise services, and unfortunately the patronage figures for the 360 mean it is no longer justifiable.”

Under the new structure there will be three separate services:

? No.60 – University of Warwick to Arena Retail Park via Coventry & Warwickshire University Hospital, operating every 30 minutes, hourly in evenings and Sundays;

? No.61 – Allesley Park to Arena Retail Park, operating hourly Monday to Saturday, daytime only; and

? No.43 – University of Warwick to Eastern Green, operating hourly Monday to Saturday, daytime only.

All the services will continue to be operated by Travel De Courcey.

The changes follow consultations with residents and councillors, and aim to provide improved coverage to a number of residential areas.

Steve added: “Inevitably there may be some passengers who will be inconvenienced as a result of the changes to the No.360 for which we apologise.

“However the new services are designed to give the best value for money and reflect the demand of the travelling public.

“As with all subsidised services we will continue to monitor them to ensure that remains the case.”