|Operated by||National Express West Midlands/Diamond Bus|
|Vehicle||Volvo B6LE (TWM)/ Any (Diamond bus)|
|Peak vehicle requirement||12|
|Via||NXWM Walsall Depot & Bloxwich|
|End||Mossley (The Eagle PH)|
|Length||About ?? miles|
|Level||Daytime 06:20 - 23:28 Monday - Sunday, Sunday service every 5 Minutes from 9:00 am till close of service (2308)|
|Frequency||every few minutes|
|Journey time||19 minutes|
|Night||Every 5-10 Minutes|
National Express West Midlands Route 301 is a bus route in the West Midlands County.
History & PresentEdit
The origins of service 301 go back to 1957 when the Walsall to Bloxwich trolleybus route (service number 30) was extended to the then new council housing estate of Mossley Estate (terminating at Abbey Square). The service was further extended to the present day Eagle Hotel terminus in 1959. The service number 31 came into use on 31 December 1962 and remained in use until renumbered 331 by West Midlands Passenger Transport Executive in the mid-1970's when the service was converted to one man operation. Trolleybuses had been withdrawn from this service in three stages : from March 1968 the Sunday service was converted to motorbus operation; in January-February 1970 partial conversion to motorbus operation was instituted on the Monday to Saturday timetable; Friday 2 October 1970 was the last day of normal scheduled trolleybus operation on this route, and in the whole of Walsall. On Saturday 3 October 1970 one trolleybus did operate on an enthusiasts tour incorporating Mossley Estate, whilst four others operated a last day special service operating between Walsall and Bloxwich only.
Service 31 had been operated by Walsall Corporation Transport until 30 September 1969, then from the following day by West Midlands Passenger Transport Executive which had been formed to takeover local authority bus operations in Birmingham and the Black Country.
Service 331 ceased to operate on 25 October 1986 being replaced by circular services 370 (clockwise via Beechdale) and 371 (anticlockwise via Leamore) - these circular services had in fact been introduced some years previously but only for the evenings (daily) and Sunday services - from Sunday 26 October 1986 only services 370 and 371 provided any regular service, generally at a 15 minute frequency in each direction daytime Monday to Saturday and 30 minute frequency at other times.
Choice Travel re-introduced the "old" service pattern with their service 171 which was introduced by them in the 1990's providing lower fares and increased capacity on the busy Mossley - Bloxwich - Walsall corridor. West Midlands Travel subsequently reacted to this competition in various ways - at one stage the Wolverhampton to Bloxwich bus service was diverted via Mossley Estate and extended to Walsall on Monday to Saturday daytime on a regular frequency but this was later withdrawn. A more effective response to Choice Travel's 171 service was the introduction of high frequency service 301 on a similar route to Choice Travel's 171 service.
Choice Travel proposed to CENTRO that services 171/301 become a "Showcase" bus service and this was eventually implemented with a co-ordinated timetable on both services with Choice Travel purchasing four new Optare Excel buses specially for the service (registration numbers R742BUW to R744BUW) these new buses were quite striking in their specially branded livery compared to the Leyland Nationals that Choice had originally used on their 171 service.
Co-ordinated timetabling remained in place until 2007 when West Midlands Travel decided to introduce it's own regular frequency timetable of every 6 minutes.
Service 301 was initially operated using easy access Volvo B10L buses, working in partnership with Choice Travel service 171 (which ran virtually the exact same route with the exception of one street), operated using new Optare Excels.
In summer 2007, A2Z Travel began operating on the 301, using a variety of buses and the B10Ls used by TWM where transferred to service 377, as this route was being showcased in partnership with Centro.
In March 2008, Choice Travel withdrew service 171 and A2Z Travel replaced these journeys with an increased frequency on service 301. However, this increase was reversed approximately 2 months later and working hours were shorten in May 2008. Competition between A2Z Travel and National Express West Midlands still remains as competitive as ever.
In mid-2008 A2Z Travel are offering a competitive maximum fare of £1.00 as compared to the area's standard maximum single fare of £1.50. Despite this fare offer it seems that National Express West Midlands are carrying the vast majority of passengers as it has certain advantages over A2Z Travel such as it's own Travelcard ticket and more extensive local bus route network plus a more advantageous loading point in Walsall bus station.
- It is known that the Walsall garage is to receive some Scania Omnilinks in September 2008. It is currently unconfirmed, but widely believed, that these are for use by NXWM on the 301 service.
The 301 is a service that was one of National Express West Midlands first showcase routes, known as the 'superline'.
- Walsall Magistrates Court
- NXWM Walsall Depot
- Bloxwich Leisure Centre
- Bloxwich High Street