The dial-a-ride bus service is back in Hagley – and proving a big hit.

It’s under new management after the service was suspended at the start of the lockdown because of a mixture of Covid and the former company running it being taken over.

But last week the service, which offers a lifeline to the elderly and those with mobility issues in the village, was relaunched to packed buses.

Well, packed as far as they could be – Covid restrictions limit the 16-seater to just six passengers.

But there’s no shortage of demand as local people book ahead for trips to the shops at Stourbridge, Kidderminster and occasionally Longbridge.

And soon a new service will be offered, picking up people from their homes and dropping them into the village centre.

“Residents have been really looking forward to it,” said Councillor Steve Colella. “It helps fight the impact of isolation.”

The bus is one of the benefits from around £100,000 for the village coming from New Homes Bonus money because of the amount of building development.

There are an extra 400 homes raising the population by around 1,000, plus several new care homes.

Investments using the new money include the bus, upgraded sports pavilion at Haybridge Sports Centre; a new play area at Hagley Primary School; and a larger scout hut.

“When I look back at the enormous amount of work that has been put in on behalf of Hagley I can now see that the effort and dedication has certainly paid off. It was commonly believed that Hagley had been underinvested in,’ said Cllr Colella.

“It was important that investment came our way and I’m so pleased to reflect what has been achieved.”