From Saturday 13th January 1979, with the introduction of “Severnlink” MAP scheme, Service 144 had been extended to once again serve The Malverns, but this was not successful so from Saturday 26th May 1979 the service was once again cut back to run only between Birmingham and Worcester.
To maintain a link between Birmingham and The Malverns, “Motorway Express” Service X43 and Service X44 were extended to Great Malvern, as Service M43 and Service M44, giving a combined hourly frequency. To give a 30-minute frequency a new Service 344 was also introduced and interworked with the Motorway Express services.
New Service 344 introduced on Saturday 26th May 1979, running between Worcester, Malvern Link, Pound Bank, Barnards Green and Great Malvern, with certain journeys extended to Malvern Wells, to partly replace the Worcester to Great Malvern section of Service 144 which was withdrawn.
Monday to Saturday Service 344 operated hourly with “Motorway Express” Service M43 and Service M44 being interworked to provide an overall frequency of every 30-minutes on common sections of the route.
Service 344 ran over the same route as the Worcester to Great Malvern section of the “Motorway Express” services, except that between Malvern Link and Pound Bank, most Service 344 journeys operated via Orford Way, while all the “Motorway Express” journeys, and a few early morning Service 344 journeys, ran via Pickersley Road and Madresfield Road. In addition, the first Service 344 journey in the morning and one schoolday journey ran direct between Malvern Link and Great Malvern via Link Top.
Service 344 did not operate on Sundays, with all journeys being provided by “Motorway Express” Service M43 and Service M44 extended to run to British Camp. All “Motorway Express” journeys were renumbered to Service X43 and Service X44 by August 1980.
Operation of Service 344 passed to the newly formed Midland Red (West) Limited when Midland Red Omnibus Company Limited (MROC) ceased trading at the end of operations on Saturday 5th September 1981.
|344||MROC||August||1980||Worcester • Great Malvern • Malvern Wells|