In response to the 1985 Transport Act, which would see the deregulation and privatisation of the bus industry from Sunday 26th October 1986, Midland Red (West) Limited looked to strengthen their bus network in Worcestershire by introducing high-frequency minibus services in all of the main population areas where they operated. This would allow the company to operate with short intervals between buses, and thus prevent any rival operator gaining a foothold on their territory.
The first of these minibus networks was named “Citibus”, and came into operation in the City of Worcester on Saturday 23rd November 1985, using a fleet of sixty-one yellow, blue and orange Mercedes-Benz L608D minibuses. The inroduction of Citibus saw the existing network of Worcester Local services withdrawn and replaced with a entirely new network of routes, numbered in the range 21–42 (with some gaps), and operated by the new minibuses. Vehicles were fitted with two-way radios to allow controllers to divert services on to different routes, and quickly respond to any problems.
With vehicle running at high frequencies, the company abandoned the publication of traditional timetables and instead issued small cards to passengers which simply showed the route, basic fares information, and the service frequency at any given time of day.
Worcester Citibus Service 21 was introduced by Midland Red (West) Limited from the first day of Citibus operations, on Saturday 23rd November 1985. The route ran from The Cross in Worcester City Centre direct along Foregate, The Tything and A449 Ombersley Road to the bus terminus and turning point at the junction of Green Lane on the edge of the city.
On Monday to Friday, the service ran every 8-minutes during the daytime, then every 30-minutes during the evenings. A similar service was provided on Saturdays, but with a reduction in frequency to every 16-minutes before 09:00 and every 15-minutes from 17:00 until the evening services began. On Sundays, Worcester “Citibus” Service 21 ran every 30-minutes between 11:19 and 22:49, but there was no morning service.
With Deregulation and privatisation approaching towards the end of 1986, Midland Red (West) Limited introduced a number of changes. Outbound journeys were re-routed to run via Beckett Road, Northwick Road, Hillcrest Rise, Grange Avenue, and Green Lane, to provide a circular route around the housing estate. Journeys towards the City Centre were unchanged and ran direct along Ombersley Road.
A variation route was introduced as Worcester Citibus Service 21A, which ran over the same route between the City Centre and Ombersley Road, but then turned into Cornmeadow Lane and ran a circular route around Gilmour Crescent before returning to the City Centre.
Journey frequency for Worcester Citibus Service 21 was reduced to one bus every 10-minutes Monday to Saturday, and one bus every hour on Sundays, but as this was now inter-worked with variation Service 21A, certain parts of the route saw a Citibus minibus every 5-minutes during the daytime. Service 21A did not run during the evenings or on Sundays.
From Saturday 30th August 1986, the short-lived practice of issuing small cards with frequency information also came to an end. To coincide with a general revision of Citibus services, traditional timetables returned in the form of a 26-page Citibus timetable book. On the front cover there was a black and white photograph of minubus fleet number 1351 at The Cross, loading passengers for Worcester Citibus Service 21.
|August||1986||Worcester ↔ Ombersley Road ↔ Bevere|