Following last week’s announcement that 150 West Midland buses are to be fitted with clean air technology after winning nearly £500,000 of Clean Bus funding, National Express West Midlands (NXWM) has announced further investment into the region’s fleet. NXWM is to spend another £2.2m of match funding to upgrade a further 123 buses, all of which will be fully refurbished. The operator is still working through the detail in terms of exactly which vehicles will be refurbished, but it will be targeting mainly Euro3 and Euro4s. These include Wrightbus Geminis, ADL ALX 400s and ADL Enviro400s.
This fleet upgrade is in addition to the Government’s Clean Bus Technology Funding, which enables 27 of the company’s buses to be retrofitted with SCR exhaust system technology over the summer and autumn. This will enable older engines to become as clean as the latest Euro6 models already fitted in 159 of NXWM’s 1,540-strong fleet. The buses selected for the upgrade will also operate in those areas of the West Midlands identified in a recent Centro commissioned report as having the worst air quality.
The funding secured under the bid will now complement the £125m due to be invested in new buses over the next five years as part of the Bus Alliance agreement between the ITA and NXWM. The organisations are also bidding for further funding which, if successful, would see the operator and Centro introduce up to 50 fully electric buses in 2017 and 2018 on routes with air quality issues. They are also working with Birmingham City Council as part of the 100 Bus Hydrogen Project, which aims to put 20 fuel cell buses into service in 2018.
MD of NXWM, Peter Coates, said, ‘This is a great example of how the Bus Alliance partnership is making the West Midlands a better place to live and work. National Express will be fitting our older buses with filters and chemical treatments to remove harmful gases and particulates from exhaust gases. Our older buses will then run to much higher environmental standards, equivalent to newer vehicles, with direct benefits for people’s health.’