NXWM announces landmark vehicle investment

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A £34m investment into 171 new buses is to be made, supported by real-time information and bus priority

National Express West Midlands (NXWM) has announced it is to make its biggest investment ever in new buses for the region.

The bus operator will spend over £34m in 2015, three million more than its last year profits, on 171 new buses, including 58 high-specification ‘Platinum’ vehicles.

Jack Kelly, Head of External Communications told CBW: “While the ‘Platinum’ buses will all be Enviro400 double-deckers, the remaining 113 will be a mixture of single and double-deckers. We have a supply agreement with ADL for the next five years.”

Asked which routes are to be upgraded to the premium standard, he replied: “We will be announcing the routes early next year. We’re working with Birmingham City and Solihull councils to ensure buses get the priority they need. It’s all well and good for operators to invest in new buses, but if journey times remain the same, the impact of that investment will be reduced. We are working on a package of highways improvements, rather than bus priority measures, which will help to increase the competitiveness of the bus.”

All of the new vehicles will have a distinctive livery in a two-tone maroon with complementary cream lines. NXWM said the ‘Platinum’ service-branded buses will be even more eye-catching, with a two-tone grey exterior with flashes of red. These premium routes will have drivers in suits and new bus shelters with Real-Time Information (RTI).

Peter Coates, Managing Director of NXWM, said: “These new vehicles will ensure our passengers have smoother, cleaner and more enjoyable journeys. The buses will have more comfortable seats, better lighting and crystal clear CCTV. Our passengers regularly tell us that newer buses make for a better journey and that is why we have invested a record amount in new vehicles.”

The investment has been welcomed by Centro, the region’s transport authority, whose Transforming Bus Travel partnership with NXWM pledged 300 new buses over a two-year period. The investment will mean that this target has been met.

Centro Chairman, Cllr John McNicholas, said: “The vast majority of journeys made by public transport in the West Midlands are by bus which is why this record investment in new vehicles is to be welcomed.

“These new buses use the latest low pollution engines and are also British built, which means they can not only provide a credible alternative to the car, but are good for the environment and good for the economy.”

The Transforming Bus Travel: Partnership Plus agreement, which was signed last year, is delivering more than £83m of investment for West Midlands bus passengers over two years, including the 300 new buses. It also includes more RTI, CCTV cameras and on-board cleaning.