National Express West Midlands
National Express West Midlands logo
Route 33

National Express West Midlands Alexander Dennis Enviro 400 double decker bus with route 33 branding in April 2013

Parent companyNational Express Group
Founded26 October 1986 (West Midlands Travel Ltd)
Service areaWest Midlands County
Service typeUrban bus services
AllianceNational Express Coventry
Routes1 (Dudley), 1 (Cov), 1 (B’ham), 2 (Wolvo), 2/3 (Cov), 2/3 (B’ham), 4 (Cov), 4/4H/4M, 5 (West Brom), 5/6 (B’ham), 5/7 (Coventry), 6/6A (Wolvo), 6/6A (Cov) & 7 (B’ham)
DestinationsCoventry, Dudley,
StationsCoventry Pool Meadow, Dudley, Walsall, West Bromwich, Wolverhampton, Stourbridge
FleetJust under 1600
Chief executivePeter Coates
West midlands travel bus 26l07

4425, a Dennis Trident 2/Alexander ALX400 in the old Travel West Midlands livery

National Express West Midlands (NXWM), is the trade name of West Midlands Travel Ltd (part of the National Express Group), a company which operates bus services in the cities of Birmingham, and Wolverhampton, as well as the Metropolitan Boroughs of Dudley, Sandwell, Solihull and Walsall in the West Midlands County of England, and some adjacent areas. It is one of the largest bus operators in Great Britain, and the largest in the West Midlands area[1]. The operator carries approximately 1 million passengers every day [2]


West Midlands Travel Ltd came into existence on 26 October 1986, 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).

West Midlands Travel remained in public ownership under the West Midlands Passenger Transport Authority until December 1991, when it was sold to its management and employees.

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.

In February 2008 as part of a rebranding of all National Express subsidiaries it was renamed National Express West Midlands.[3] The Coventry service was rebranded as National Express Coventry.

The current red and white is the sixth livery to be used by the company. A seventh livery of crimson and maroon is being introduced from 2015 starting with Birmingham routes 9 and 50.

Previously, the company and its predecessors have operated garages in Stourbridge, Dudley, Merry Hill Shopping Centre (Part of Travel Merry Hill), Harts Hill, Sutton Coldfield, Hockley, Cotteridge, Selly Oak, Washwood Heath and Quinton.

The Dudley garage closed on 28 August 1993 to make way for the Dudley Southern By-Pass (which opened in 1999) and was replaced, along with the former Travel Merry Hill depot, by the depot at Pensnett.

In July 2010, NXWM closed its Lea Hall depot.

National Express West Midlands aimed for the whole fleet to be low floor by March 2010.[4] This was achieved in July 2010, with the withdrawal of the final MCW Metrobuses in operation at Acocks Green garage.[5]


A two-tier flat fare structure is in operation within the West Midlands county boundary; there is a standard single fare for any distance and a cheaper short-hop fare. Cash fares can be bought from the driver on the bus, but as with some other urban operators, no change is given for security and speed of boarding[6]. Child fares are available at half the adult cost. Graduated fares apply on some services outside the West Midlands.

Daysaver tickets can also be purchased from the driver, which allows unlimited travel on all NXWM services for the whole day. Selected services have special daily and weekly return tickets available.

Various types of 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 2016 with most fares increasing by 10p.

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. Following successful trials in Yardley Wood of the new 'Smart' system for Concessionary Travel Pass holders, smart-card technology has now been introduced on all NXWM buses[2]. An early-bird add-on ticket can be purchased to extend the concession to cover weekday travel within the West Midlands county before 09:30.

On-bus ticketing systems and point of sale units are supplied by Parkeon.


Main article: List of National Express West Midlands Bus Routes

Routes of significance include: Route 11 which forms the Birmingham Outer Circle is a roughly circular, 27 mile (43 km) bus route in Birmingham, England (a small section crosses into Sandwell). It mainly follows the city's outer ring road, the A4040. Operating as routes 11A and 11C, it is the longest urban bus route in Europe[7][8]. Route 50 which is one of the most frequent bus services in the UK outside London and it is often suggested that it is one of the most frequent in Europe. Britain's first low floor double decker bus operated on this route. Route 65 was the first bus route in the UK to operate on a Guided Busway. Route 97 which now operates 24 hours a day, 7 days a week - the night service began on the 24th March 2013[9] making it the first regular night bus service in Birmingham for several years. Previously Birmingham had been one of the largest cities in Europe without a night bus operation.

Many routes can be traced back to the days of municipal operation but network reviews have resulted in major changes to the route numbering in recent years.

Route BrandingEdit

The latest route branding uses a variety of colours to differentiate routes to make it easier to see buses operating on a particular route. It is now easier to identify high frequency routes as these are generally the routes which are being branded. On some corridors routes are grouped together in the same colour scheme where they are operated with the same buses. The Platinum branded routes additionally operate in an all over silver & grey livery and route 1 and the Harborne route in an all over light green and white livery (Hybrid Electric buses).

So far routes which have been branded in the new scheme are as follows:

Number Branding From To Via Notes
1 Red Tettenhall Wood Dudley bus station Wolverhampton, & Sedgley every 7 minutes Monday-Saturday daytime.
2 Blue Warstones Bushbury Hill Wolverhampton every 8 minutes Monday-Saturday daytime.
3/4 Yellow Fordhouses (3) / I54 South Staffordshire Business Park (4) Castlecroft (3) /Spring Hill (4) Wolverhampton both every 15 minutes Monday-Saturday daytime.
5/5A Dark Green Wolverhampton Codsall Dunstall, Whitmore Reans & Bilbrook Rail Station every 15 minutes Monday-Saturday daytime.
6 Orange Wolverhampton Wobaston Whitmore Reans, Pendeford & I54 South Staffordshire Business Park every 10 minutes Monday-Saturday daytime.
7 Purple Birmingham Perry Common Newtown, Six Ways, Aston, Witton every 10 minutes Monday-Saturday daytime.
9 Light Green Birmingham Stourbridge Edgbaston, Bearwood, Quinton, Halesowen & Lye every 7-8 minutes Monday-Saturday daytime.
10 Pink Wolverhampton Perton Compton, Tettenhall Wood every 30 minutes Monday-Saturday daytime.
10/10A Pink Walsall Burntwood (10) /Brownhills West (10A) Rushall, Shelfield, Walsall Wood, Brownhills every 10 minutes Monday-Saturday daytime.
11A/11C Yellow Outer Circle (Birmingham) Perry Barr, Acocks Green, Cotteridge, Bearwood every 8-10 minutes Monday-Saturday daytime.
14 Blue Birmingham Chelmsley Wood Yorkminster Drive Saltley, Alum Rock, Kitts Green, Marston Green & Chelmsley Wood Interchange every 8 minutes Monday-Saturday daytime.
16 Orange Birmingham Hamstead Hockley & Handsworth Wood every 8 minutes Monday-Saturday daytime.
17 Yellow Birmingham Tile Cross Yardley (Yew Tree), Garrets Green & The Radley every 7-8 minutes Monday-Saturday daytime.
Harborne (22/23) Red Birmingham Woodgate Five Ways, Harborne, California & Kitwell every 7-8 minutes Monday-Saturday daytime.
28 Yellow Heartlands Hospital Great Barr Erdington every 12 minutes Monday-Saturday daytime.
33 Light Green Birmingham Pheasey Aston Six Ways, Perry Barr, Warren Farm & Kingstanding every 8 minutes Monday-Saturday daytime.
35 Royal Blue Birmingham Hawkesley Moseley, Kings Heath & Pool Farm every 10 minutes Monday-Saturday daytime.
37 Pink Birmingham Solihull Sparkbrook, Greet, Acocks Green & Olton every 5 minutes Monday-Saturday daytime.
Pershore Road (45/47) Orange Birmingham Longbridge (45) /Cofton Hackett (47) Highgate, Selly Park, Cotteridge & Turves Green (47) every 5/6 minutes Monday-Saturday daytime.
50 Blue Birmingham Druids Heath Moseley, Kings Heath & Maypole every 5 minutes Monday-Saturday daytime.
24-hour service.
51 Blue Birmingham Walsall Aston Six Ways, Perry Barr, Hamstead & Great Barr every 8 minutes Monday-Saturday daytime.
54/154 Yellow Wolverhampton Stafford (54) / Hednesford (154) Pendeford Business Park , I54 South Staffordshire Business Park, Coven (54) / Featherstone (154), Penkridge (54) /Cheslyn Hay (154) & Stafford Railway Station (54) / Cannock Bus Station (154) both every 30 minutes Monday-Saturday daytime.
59 Light Green Wolverhampton Ashmore Park Wednesfield every 5 minutes Monday-Saturday daytime.
Soho Road (74) Blue Birmingham Dudley Handsworth, West Bromwich, Great Bridge every 10 minutes Monday-Saturday daytime.
24-hour service Birmingham- to West Bromwich
82/87 Pink Birmingham Bearwood (82) / Dudley (87) City Hospital & Cape Hill, Smethwick (87), Oldbury (87) & Tividale (87) every 5 minutes Monday-Saturday daytime.
X96 Yellow Wollaston Farm Wrens Nest Stourbridge, Merry Hill Shopping Centre & Dudley every 20 minutes Monday-Saturday daytime.
97/97A Royal Blue Birmingham Chelmsley Wood Helmswood Drive (97) / Birmingham Airport (97A) / NEC Resorts World (97A) Bordesley Green, Stechford, Tile Cross & Chelmsley Wood Interchange every 5 minutes Monday-Saturday daytime Birmingham-Chelmsley Wood, every 30 minutes Monday-Saturday daytime Birmingham-Birmingham Airport.
24-Hour Service.
99 Turquoise Birmingham Halesowen Smallbrook Queensway, Queen Elizabeth Hospital, Harborne, Worlds End & Quinton every 20 minutes Monday-Saturday daytime.
101 Silver Birmingham Handsworth, Oxhill Road Jewellery Quarter & Winson Green every 10 minutes Monday-Saturday daytime.
222 Turquoise Dudley Merry Hill Shopping Centre Russells Hall, Russells Hall Hospital & Brockmoor every 12 minutes Monday-Saturday daytime.
301/302 Royal Blue Walsall Mossley (301) / Lower Farm (302) Leamore & Bloxwich every 6 minutes (301) and every 12 minutes (302) Monday-Saturday daytime.
Platinum X1 Light Green Birmingham Coventry (X1) / Birmingham Business Park (X1E) Deritend Adderley Street, Yardley (Swan), Sheldon, Airport Bus Interchange & NEC International Station, Meriden Village Green (X1) & Parkhill Drive (X1) every 15 minutes Birmingham to Airport/NEC and every 30 minutes to Coventry (X1) or Birmingham Business Park (X1E) Monday-Saturday daytime
Platinum X2 Green Birmingham Solihull Deritend Adderley Street, Yardley (Swan), Sheldon & Solihull Town Centre every 15 minutes Monday-Saturday daytime
Platinum Sutton (X3/X4/X5) Silver Birmingham Hill Hook (X3) / Minworth, Asda (X4), Roughley (X5) Erdington, Sutton Coldfield & Mere Green (X3 & X5) / Falcon Lodge (X4) every 6-7 minutes Monday-Saturday daytime Birmingham-Sutton Coldfield and every 20 minutes beyond
Platinum X10 Green Birmingham Merry Hill Bearwood, Quinton, Halesowen every 20 minutes Monday-Saturday daytime
Platinum X12 Red Birmingham Solihull Castle Bromwich, Chelmsley Wood, Airport every 20 minutes Monday-Saturday daytime.
Platinum X14 Birmingham Sutton Coldfield Pype Hayes, Walmley & Falcon Lodge every 20 minutes Monday-Saturday daytime Birmingham-Sutton Coldfield and every 20 minutes beyond
Platinum X51 Green Birmingham Walsall /Cannock Bus Station (peak time only) Great Barr, Walsall, Hatherton Road (Peak time only), Bloxwich, High Street (Peak time only) & Cheslyn Hay, War Memorial (Peak time only) every 8 minutes Monday-Saturday daytime.
Platinum X61 Blue Birmingham Frankley Northfield every 8-10 minutes Monday-Saturday daytime.
Platinum 126 Green Birmingham Wolverhampton Bearwood, Dudley & Roseville every 10 minutes Monday-Saturday daytime.
Platinum 529 Pink Wolverhampton Walsall Portobello & Willenhall every 7 minutes Monday-Saturday daytime.
Platinum 934/935/937 Light Green Birmingham Walsall (934 & 935) / Brownhills West (937) Perry Bar, Kingstanding, Pheasey (934), Streetly (935, 937), Barr Beacon (934,935), Aldridge (937) & Walsall Wood (937) every 10 minutes Monday-Saturday daytime Birmingham-Kingstanding and every 30 minutes beyond
Platinum 997 Green Birmingham Walsall Perry Barr, Pheasey & Aldridge every 10 minutes to Pheasey / 20 minutes to Walsall Monday-Saturday daytime.

Network ReviewsEdit

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.

Following this, a similar process took place in Solihull in January 2009.

The next one took place in October 2009 for South and West Birmingham.

In April 2010 a network review for Walsall North (Bloxwich, Brownhills & Aldridge) took place.

That was shortly followed by a review of services in West Birmingham. This happened at the end of July 2010.

The first review of 2011 was in March for services in East Birmingham/North Solihull, [10].

That was shortly followed by a review of services in Wolverhampton and West Walsall in July 2011,[11].

That was followed by a review of services in Sandwell In October 2012.

The final review took place for North Birmingham and the Sutton Coldfield areas in June 2013. [12] There will be a Dudley Development Plan potentially implemented in April 2016.

Garages and Travel ShopsEdit

NXWM has ten garages - Acocks Green, Bordesley, Coventry, Birmingham Central (Digbeth), Pensnett, Perry Barr, Walsall, West Bromwich, Wolverhampton and Yardley Wood. The Bordesley garage is the newest location, having opened in 2005. NXWM has six Travel Shops located in Solihull Town Centre, Coventry Pool Meadow Bus Station, West Bromwich bus station, Dudley bus station, Birmingham Pavilions Shopping Centre and Walsall Bus Station. Additionally there is a Centro travel shop at Wolverhampton bus station and also a Centro travel shop in New Street Station. The Dudley, Birmingham Pavilions, West Bromwich and Walsall all sell all types of Travelcards, National Express Coach Tickets and assist customers with timetable information, Information on bus/coach fare and route planning.

The Solihull travel shop has now closed down. It closed down on Friday 28 April 2017.


National Express West Midlands unveiled in 2013 a £1.6 million AVL (control) centre from which all services are monitored to help identify problems and cut response times.[16] But there are also Route Managers and Inspectors present to identify and solve issues on the road, particularly in Birmingham City Centre where most frequent routes converge.

Anti-social Behaviour and Ticket InspectionsEdit

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 failed attempt to stabilise the level of crime. In the 2009-10 accounting period, 3,341 incidents were recorded on West Midlands buses, including theft, property damage, and drug possession.[13]

National Express West Midlands is part of the Safer Travel Partnership, created in 2005 its members also include Centro (responsible for bus, train and Midland Metro tram transport in the West Midlands) and West Midlands Police. The partnership is committed to reducing crime and anti social behaviour across the West Midlands bus network whilst providing reassurance to the travelling public. The partnership achieves this through a variety of tactics including Gateway Operations. These operations are intelligence led and are based on the established link between those who evade paying their fare and those responsible for crime, disorder and anti social behaviour. The operation involves partners including NX Revenue Inspectors and Police Officers and Police Community Support Officers from the dedicated Safer Travel Police Team. The activities of the partnership have resulted in very significant reductions in recorded crime across the West Midlands bus network.

Most of the cost of 'Safer Travel' is met from public funds, rather than those of NXWM. This contrasts with most commercial enterprises, such as football clubs, which have to pay a substantial amount for policing.

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

The 'See Something, Say Something' campaign, where passengers are encouraged to anonymously send information about nuisance behaviour on buses by text message, has led to 134 arrests and a cut in crime of 15% since April 2010. Crime on the West Midlands bus network has fallen to its lowest level in the last five years.[14]


Travel West Midlands 4697

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 is one of the largest bus operators in the UK, with a fleet of nearly 1600 vehicles. A variety of bus types are used, including double-decks, single-decks, articulated 'bendy' buses, and midi-buses.[15]

In 2011 National Express West Midlands began investing in new greener vehicles, with the addition of 120 new buses to the fleet, including 18 'hybrid' vehicles. Alexander Dennis supplied 9 Enviro 400H hybrid-power double-deck models alongside 50 EEV-approved diesel Enviro 400 double-deck models, while Volvo suppied 9 B5LH Wrightbus Eclipse Gemini 2 hybrid-power double deck models, with 52 B7RLE single-deck models. The new buses were to be progressively introduced to various garages from September 2011,[16] however due to some delays these buses began to enter service in November 2011, with the full rollout completed early in 2012.

2012 saw a further 100 new vehicles enter service, with the addition of more Wright Eclipse Urban 2 single-deck buses at Wolverhampton, Acocks Green, Birmingham Central and Pensnett garages to replace older single deckers such as Mercedes-Benz O405N and some Volvo B6LE at Pensnett garages, Volvo B10L at Acocks Green and Optare Excel at Wolverhampton. A further 30 new Alexander Dennis Enviro200 Dart buses have entered service on routes 99, 222 and on routes at West Bromwich garage, replacing Volvo B6LE's. An extensive refurbishment programme has seen many older buses repainted into the new livery, as well as having etched windows and upholsteries replaced.

The investment is continuing in 2013, as Green Bus Funding has assisted again in the purchase of a further 21 new Alexander Dennis Enviro 400 hybrid-powered double-deck buses which have entered operation at Wolverhampton garage on route 1 (Tettenhall Wood-Dudley).

The company operates the following vehicles:

Double Deck Buses:Edit

Single Deck Buses:Edit

Articulated Single Deck Buses:Edit

A list of vehicle type allocation by route can be found here.


  1. UK Bus - Key Facts
  2. About Us
  3. TWM rebranding. Archived from the original on 2008-02-15. Retrieved on 2008-02-16.
  4. £69 million Bus & Coach Order. Archived from the original on 2008-04-03. Retrieved on 2008-03-03.
  6. White, P. (2008) Public Transport - Its Planning, Management and Operation
  8. UK Bus - Key Facts
  9. [1]
  10. .East Birmingham & North Solihull Bus Review
  11. .[Wolverhampton and West Walsall Bus Review]
  12. .[North Birmingham and Sutton Coldfield bus review]
  13. Template:Cite news
  15. Unofficial NXWM fleetlist

External linksEdit

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