National Express West Midlands

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NXWM ADL Enviro 200 807 on 997.jpg
Alexander Dennis Enviro200 on route 997 in September 2020.
ParentNational Express
Founded26 October 1986; 35 years ago (1986-10-26)
Service areaWest Midlands
Service typeBus services
AllianceNational Express Coventry
Chief executiveTom Stables

National Express West Midlands[1] (NXWM) is a bus operator in the West Midlands that operates services in Birmingham, Dudley, Sandwell, Walsall, Wolverhampton, and Solihull, as well as limited routes outside of the general area of Birmingham, such as the X1 to Coventry, or the 144A to Worcester. NXWM a subsidiary of National Express.


Former logos
Logo from 1986-1996
Logo from 1996–2008
Logo from 2008–2015

On 26 October 1986 as part of the deregulation of bus services, West Midlands Travel was formed. It was previously the bus operations of the West Midlands Passenger Transport Executive, which ceased to be a bus operator, but successor organisation Transport for West Midlands retains a co-ordinating role, funding infrastructure like bus stations, providing information, paying for socially necessary services, and concessionary fares. West Midlands Travel remained in public ownership under the West Midlands Passenger Transport Authority until December 1991, when it was sold in an Employee Share Ownership Plan to its management and employees.

In April 1995 the company merged with National Express, and in September 1996 rebranded as Travel West Midlands. In November 2002 the Coventry services were rebranded Travel Coventry.[2]

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][4] 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 garages in Stourbridge, Dudley, Merry Hill (part of Travel Merry Hill), Harts Hill, Sutton Coldfield, Hockley, Cotteridge, Selly Oak, Wolverhampton (Cleveland Road), Washwood Heath and Quinton have been operated. 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 a depot at Pensnett. In July 2010, Lea Hall depot closed. Bordesley Green garage closed in 2022 following the sale of the land in and around the depot for redevelopment.

National Express West Midlands aimed for the whole fleet to be low floor by March 2010.[5] This was achieved in July that year, with the withdrawal of the final MCW Metrobus in operation at Acocks Green garage.[6]

In February 2020, National Express announced their intention to operate a completely zero emission bus fleet by 2030.[7] The first electric buses began operation on route 6 from Birmingham to Solihull via Shirley on 5 July 2020.[8] with hydrogen powered Wright Streetdeck vehicles following in late 2021[9][10]

Further hydrogen powered buses are set to enter the fleet following funding from the Department for Transport[11][12]

Network reviews[edit]

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, with one also taking place in October 2009 for South West Birmingham.

In April 2010 a network review for Walsall North (Bloxwich, Brownhills & Aldridge) took place, with another taking place at the end of July 2010 for West Birmingham.

The first review of 2011 was in March for services in East Birmingham/North Solihull,[13] followed by a review of services in Wolverhampton and West Walsall in July 2011.[14]

In October 2012 there was a network review in Sandwell, with the final review taking place in June 2013 for North Birmingham, although this was heavily criticized for the small number of routes that were actually changed and those that were being mostly in the Pheasey area.

A network review for areas around West Birmingham, West Bromwich, Oldbury and Blackheath was sought by passenger views in 2017. These changed in April 2017.[15]

In 2016, a bus service review for east Birmingham, North Solihull and Chelmsley Wood was made by allowing passengers to give their views on the routes. The services were changed in June 2017.[16]

At the end of 2017, a network review took place for South Birmingham. The public were asked for their opinions on the changes. As of February 2018, the answers received were currently being looked at by the company.[17] As of 22 July 2018 the network had been changed providing a much simpler network, more express buses and more direct links to the Queen Elizabeth hospital and The University of Birmingham.[18]

A review of services in Dudley and Sandwell was launched in early 2019 with a planned introduction date of April 2019.[19] However due to mostly negative feedback, changes were delayed until later in the year. The changes resulted in numerous route number changes with new routes such as service 8 from Wolverhampton to Wollaston Farm via Dudley and Stourbridge.[20] [21]

Garages and travel shops[edit]

NXWM operate ten garages: Acocks Green, Bordesley Green, Birmingham Central (Digbeth), 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. Bordesley Green was also the head office for National Express West Midlands, which replaced the original WMPTE offices in Summer Row, Birmingham. Following the closure of Bordesley Green garage, the head office has relocated to National Express Group head offices in Digbeth.

NXWM operate four travel shops located in Coventry Pool Meadow bus station, West Bromwich bus station, Birmingham Corporation Street and Walsall bus station. All offices sell all types of Travelcards, National Express coach tickets and assist customers with information and route planning.[22] The travel shop at Wolverhampton bus station is unique in that it is the only travelshop within a bus station not operated by NXWM, instead being operated by Transport for West Midlands (previously Centro then Network West Midlands), a division of the West Midlands Combined Authority.

Anti-social behaviour and ticket inspections[edit]

Crime (such as robbery and assault) and vandalism were, for a period an persistent 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.[23]

National Express West Midlands is part of the Safer Travel Partnership, created in 2005 its members also include Centro (responsible for bus, train and 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.[24]


In 2015, National Express West Midlands launched the Platinum brand. The Platinum range of buses is a premium brand which offers the passenger extra legroom, high backed seats, next stop announcements (on supported services), free Wi-Fi and USB charging (except on 15/65 plate Platinum vehicles which do not have USB charging ports onboard). Platinum uses Alexander Dennis Enviro400 MMC’s, BYD ADL 400MMC EV’s (Intended for the 6) and Wright StreetDeck Hydroliner’s (Intended for the 51) which are painted in a grey and red colour scheme. The brand was launched in spring 2015 on services 900 and 957 (now X1 and X2) followed by services 934, 935, 936, 997 and X51 in summer 2015. Other services got their own branded Platinum buses with exclusive colours such as 50 and 82/87. There may also be Platinum buses alongside regular National Express West Midlands buses, depending on allocations, often seen on routes like the 4, 11, and 35

A National Express West Midlands Platinum Alexander Dennis Enviro400 MMC seen on service X3 in July 2020.


  1. ^ Companies House extract company no 2652253 West Midlands Travel Limited,
  2. ^ "UK Bus - National Express Group PLC". Retrieved 14 June 2017.
  3. ^ "TWM buses in name change". Retrieved 8 May 2022.
  4. ^ "New brand, new name, new era - National Express". Archived from the original on 20 August 2008. Retrieved 14 June 2017.
  5. ^ "£69 million Bus & Coach Order". Archived from the original on 3 April 2008. Retrieved 3 March 2008.
  6. ^ "Metrobus farewell - News - West Midlands - National Express Buses". Archived from the original on 30 December 2010. Retrieved 8 January 2011.
  7. ^ "National Express Group sets out zero emission vision - National Express Group PLC". Archived from the original on 13 May 2020.
  8. ^ "She's electric - National Express launches zero-emission future - National Express Group PLC". Archived from the original on 8 August 2020.
  9. ^ "National Express hydrogen buses out in service". Retrieved 8 May 2022.
  10. ^ "Birmingham gets first hydrogen bus". Retrieved 8 May 2022.
  11. ^ "West Midlands to run 'largest hydrogen bus fleet' due to new funding". BBC News. 27 March 2022. Retrieved 8 May 2022.
  12. ^ O'Brien, Lisa. "West Midlands to launch UK's largest hydrogen bus fleet after securing £30m Government funding". Retrieved 8 May 2022.
  13. ^ "Network West Midlands - East Birmingham and North Solihull Bus Review". Archived from the original on 14 March 2011. Retrieved 4 March 2011.
  14. ^ "Network West Midlands - Wolverhampton and West Walsall Bus Review". Archived from the original on 15 August 2011. Retrieved 28 June 2011.
  15. ^ "Information - Service Changes - National Express West Midlands".
  16. ^ "East Birmingham & Solihull Service Changes from Sunday 4 June 2017 - Information - Service Changes - National Express West Midlands". Retrieved 14 June 2017.
  17. ^ "Consultation on route changes in south Birmingham - News - National Express West Midlands".
  18. ^ "South Birmingham - Service Changes - South Birmingham Service Changes - National Express West Midlands".
  19. ^ "Bus services across Dudley in line for shake up". Stourbridge News. Retrieved 8 May 2022.
  20. ^ "Bus routes between Dudley and Stourbridge in line for a shake up". Dudley News. Retrieved 8 May 2022.
  21. ^ "West Dudley and South Wolverhampton service changes from 26th January 2020". West Midlands Bus Users. 20 December 2019. Retrieved 8 May 2022.
  22. ^ "NXWM Travelcard & Information Shops". Retrieved 14 June 2017.
  23. ^ "3,000 crimes in 12 months on West Midlands buses". Express and Star. 5 June 2010.
  24. ^ "Anti-social behaviour brought to task thanks to passenger tip-offs - News - West Midlands - National Express Buses". Archived from the original on 19 February 2011. Retrieved 16 February 2011.

External links[edit]