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National Express West Midlands
logo
image
4773, an Alexander Dennis Enviro400, in NXWM livery but carrying Travel West Midlands logos
Parent National Express Group
Founded 4 February 2008
Headquarters Birmingham
Locale Birmingham
Service area West Midlands
Service type Urban and interurban bus services
Destinations Birmingham, Wolverhampton, Dudley,
Sandwell, Solihull and Walsall
Fleet 1741
Operator National Express Group
Web site West Midlands
4425, a Dennis Trident 2/Alexander ALX400 in the old Travel West Midlands livery
The old "Travel West Midlands" logo, still displayed on 71% of the current fleet
The temporary "transitional logo"

National Express West Midlands (NXWM) is the brand name of West Midlands Travel Ltd (part of the National Express Group), a company which operates bus services from depots in the cities of Birmingham, Coventry, and Wolverhampton, as well as the boroughs of Dudley, Sandwell, and Walsall in the West Midlands county of England, and some adjacent areas. The Birmingham depots also operate routes in the borough of Solihull. It is one of the largest bus operators in Great Britain, and the largest in the Greater Birmingham area.

Contents

History

On 26 October 1986, West Midlands Travel Ltd came into existence as part of the deregulation of the bus industry in England and Wales. It was previously the bus operations of the West Midlands Passenger Transport Executive (WMPTE).

In April 1995, the company was purchased by the National Express Group, and rebranded as Travel West Midlands in September 1996. On 9 December 2002, the Coventry services were rebranded Travel Coventry.

The former Travel Your Bus and Travel Merry Hill subsidiaries have been merged into the main fleet.

4 February 2008 saw the latest rebranding, to National Express West Midlands.[1]

National Express Group, the parent company, was the subject of takeover interest in 2009, and for a time there was speculation about future ownership of its local bus operations.

Ticketing

Fares used to be roughly linked to distance travelled, but there is now only a standard fare and a cheaper 'short hop' fare on most routes. Cash fares can be bought from the driver on the bus, but no change is given. Child fares are available at half the adult cost. There are no bus conductors, but tickets are often checked by roving inspectors and West Midlands Police. Adult fares are currently £1.20 for a journey of up to two fare stages (with each fare stage roughly three stops), and £1.70 for a longer journey.

Various pass type tickets are sold in advance (off-bus), for varying periods from 1 day to 1 year, covering different parts of (or the complete) operating area. The all day Daysaver ticket, also available on-bus, includes NXWM routes running outside the West Midlands county (where single fares are sometimes higher) and services operated by sister company, National Express Coventry.

NXWM generally increases fares at least once a year, with January the month of choice. Fares were increased at the start of 2009, despite falling fuel prices, and the recession. However, January 2010 saw the first genuine price freeze in many years.

Senior citizens (aged 60 or over) and disabled persons are eligible for free concessionary travel pass in a similar fashion to that offered in other areas. An add-on ticket can be purchased to extend the concession to cover weekday travel within the West Midlands county before 9:30am.

Garages and routes

NXWM has eleven garages - Acocks Green, Bordesley Green, Birmingham Central, Lea Hall, Perry Barr, Yardley Wood, Pensnett, Walsall, West Bromwich, Wolverhampton and Coventry, with the latter trading as National Express Coventry. The Bordesley Green garage is the newest location, having opened in 2005 to replace the depot in Hockley which was earmarked for demolition.[2] Previously, the company and its predecessors have operated garages in Stourbridge, Dudley, Sutton Coldfield, Hockley, Cotteridge, Selly Oak, Washwood Heath and Quinton.

Many routes can be traced back to the days of municipal operation, such as service number 11, the Birmingham Outer Circle, which is one of the longest urban services in Europe. However, in certain areas, there has been substantial changes to the service structure, with many new routes introduced. For example, at the end of April 2008, NXWM in conjunction with Centro, Dudley Council and other operators, re-routed, re-timed, and renumbered buses in the Dudley, Halesowen and Stourbridge areas. A similar process took place in Solihull in January 2009, with one also taking place in October 2009 for South West Birmingham. In April 2010 a network review for Walsall North (Bloxwich, Brownhills & Aldridge) is set to take place, with another one planned in June for West Birmingham.

Similar reviews are also planned in 2010 for Sandwell, Walsall West (Willenhall & Darlaston) and Wolverhampton.

Antisocial behaviour and fare evasion

Crime (such as robbery and assault) and vandalism are an ongoing problem on NXWM buses, with travel on the upstairs deck sometimes being particularly challenging. The installation of CCTV on buses was part of the attempt to stabilise the level of crime.

Safer Travel (ST, formally known as Operation Safer Travel), a 'partnership' between National Express West Midlands, Centro, and West Midlands Police, entails the stopping of buses, generally on trunk routes into Birmingham city centre, while all tickets are checked by NXWM inspectors and Police. Typically 10 to 20 police constables and community support officers are present at the bus stop where the 'Gateway' check is being conducted. Most of the cost of ST is met from public, rather than NXWM, funds.

The ST name is also used for presentations for schools 'educating children about how to respect their buses'.

Fleet

4697, the prototype double-deck Scania OmniCity in the "toothpaste" Travel West Midlands livery, which was used for a short while before the new National Express West Midlands one was introduced

National Express West Midlands aimed for the whole fleet to be low floor by March 2010.[3]

References

  1. ^ "TWM rebranding". travelwm.co.uk. http://www.travelwm.co.uk/news/archived/twm_news_item.jsp?news_id=2651. Retrieved 2008-02-16. 
  2. ^ "TWM Fleetlist & Depots". travelwm.co.uk. http://www.travelwm.co.uk/our-company/fleet-list.jsp. Retrieved 2007-09-24. 
  3. ^ "£69 million Bus & Coach Order". travelwm.co.uk. http://www.travelwm.co.uk/news/archived/twm_news_item.jsp?news_id=2458. Retrieved 2008-03-03. 

External links

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