Limited Stop Service 373 between Worcester, Upton-upon-Severn, Tewkesbury and Cheltenham Spa was first introduced by Birmingham and Midland Motor Omnibus Company Limited (BMMO—Midland “Red” Motor Services) on Saturday 1st January 1972 to partly replace the Birmingham to Cheltenham Spa Service X73.
The company renamed to Midland Red Omnibus Company Limited (MROC) on Friday 29th March 1974. On Saturday 13th January 1979 to company introduced their “Severnlink” MAP scheme, and at this time Service 373 was rerouted to Gloucester as a variation of Service 372, with Cheltenham Spa no longer being served.
The service passed to Midland Red (West) Limited in 1981, and continued to run until 2004 when it was withdrawn by First Midland Red Buses Limited, but the route number 373 was reused ten years later for services that ran over some of the original route between Worcester, Upton-upon-Severn and Tewkesbury.
Midland Red Omnibus Company Limited (MROC) ceased trading as a bus and coach operator at the end of services on Saturday 5th September 1981, and assets and services were divided between five newly formed operating companies. Responsibility of the Service 372, Service 373 and Service 374 group was assumed from the next day by Midland Red (West) Limited, with the operations of Worcester depot.
While Service 372 ran direct between Worcester and Gloucester, most journeys were run as variation Service 373 which diverted via Naunton and Twyning Green, and some journeys also ran via Ripple. Later, one journey was diverted to run via Kinnersley and Earls Croome which had previously only been served by variation Service 374.
During the 1983 Summer Season only, certain journeys ran as “Midland Express” Service X73 over the same route as Service 373 between Worcester and Gloucester, then continued to Bristol. Also, “Midland Express” Service X72 ran to Bristol as an extended variation to Service 372.
|373||MRW||March||1982||Worcester • Kempsey • Tewkesbury • Gloucester|
|June||1986||Worcester • Kempsey • Tewkesbury • Gloucester|
Service 373 operated by Midland Red West Limited between Worcester, Upton-upon-Severn, Tewkesbury, and Gloucester.
|373||MRW||December||1986||Worcester • Kempsey • Tewkesbury • Gloucester|
|August||1992||Worcester • Kempsey • Tewkesbury • Gloucester|
|February||1995||Worcester • Kempsey • Tewkesbury • Gloucester|
Midland Red West Limited renamed to First Midland Red Buses Limited on Friday 26th March 1999, and under the control of FirstGroup a large number of services were cut back or withdrawn over the next few years. At the end of operations on Saturday 2nd November 2002, the Worcester, Tewkesbury and Gloucester group of services were cut back to run only between Worcester and Upton-upon-Severn, with Gloucester, Tewkesbury, Twining and Ripple etc no longer being served.
Further cuts came at the end of operations on Saturday 4th September 2004, when all services between Worcester and Upton-upon-Severn were withdrawn. Journeys between Worcester, Kempsey and Baynhall were replaced by extending Service 32, but the Baynhall, Severn Stoke and Upton-upon-Severn section of the route was no longer served.
New Service 373 was introduced by First Midland Red Buses Limited on Monday 1st September 2014 between Worcester and Tewkesbury as a variation of Service 363, running over the same route between Worcester, Hanley Swan, Upton-on-Severn, and Ryall. Service 373 then diverted from the Service 363 route to run via Naunton, Ripple and then direct to Tewkesbury without serving Twyning. Both Service 363 and Service 373 ran every two hours and were interwork to give an hourly frequency on most sections of the route.
For the first year, the Naunton and Ripple section of the route received funding from Worcestershire County Council. At the end of the year First Midland Red offered to serve the villages on a commercial basis but with a reduced number of journeys, so from Monday 7th September 2015 the timetable changed and Service 373 no longer ran via Naunton with this section of the route being replaced by certain journeys of Service 363 diverting. From the same time all Service 363 and Service 373 journeys ran via Twyning and a new Service 361 variation was introduced running direct along the main road without serving Hanley Swan, Naunton, Ripple or Twyning. Both services now ran every three hours giving an overall frequency of every 90-minutes.
After about six months of running commercially through Naunton and Ripple, the company decided it was not profitable and decided to withdraw services from those villages. On Sunday 10th April 2016 the timetable changed again and the Upton-on-Severn to Tewkesbury section of Service 373 was withdrawn. The service frequency again changed, returning to each service running every two hours. This restored the hourly frequency between Worcester and Upton-on-Severn but as Service 373 no longer ran to Tewkesbury that section was reduced to having a bus every two hours.
At the same time, Service 362 and Service 364 were withdrawn leaving Tunnel Hill and Welland without a bus service, so the route of both Service 363 and Service 373 was changed to run this way, with Hanley Castle only being served by variations to Hanley Castle High School. Service 373 also ran via The Grafton which had previously been served by Service 364.
On arriving in Upton-on-Severn, all journeys of the shortened Service 373 changed to Service 332, returning to Worcester via Earls Croome, Kinnersley and Kempsey, while Service 332 journeys from Worcester changed to Service 373 to return to Worcester. Through tickets were available between Upton-on-Severn and Hanley Swan to replace the facility previous provided by Service 362.
Service 373 was withdrawn at the end of operations on Saturday 15th September 2018, when part-funding from Worcestershire County Council came to an end.
|373||FMR||September||2014||Worcester • Old Hills • Upton-upon-Severn • Tewkesbury|
|September||2015||Worcester • Old Hills • Upton-upon-Severn • Tewkesbury|
|April||2016||Worcester • Old Hills • Upton-upon-Severn|
|October||2017||Worcester • Old Hills • Upton-upon-Severn|
|April||2018||Worcester • Old Hills • Upton-upon-Severn|
|April||2018||Worcester • Old Hills • Upton-upon-Severn|