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June 12 2018
By Tim Deakin

Tim is Editor of routeone and has worked in both the coach and bus and haulage industries.

First Worcestershire joins the Salt Road to Euro 6

New livery, refurbishment and Salt Road branding part of upgraded Worcester to Birmingham corridor

Refurbishment of the buses will soon be followed by retrofit to Euro 6

First Worcestershire has launched 12 heavily refurbished Volvo B7RLEs with Wright Eclipse bodywork on the newly-branded Salt Road route 144 corridor between Birmingham and Worcester.

They carry a green livery designed by Best Impressions. Work was carried out by Thorntons Bus Refurbishment and it also includes seat-back USB charging points, Wi-Fi, audio-visual next stop announcements and use of a custom-designed moquette from Camira.

“We have seen modest growth on the corridor in recent months and that is something we hope to leverage with the Salt Road branding,” says First Midlands MD Nigel Eggleton.

Like all of First Midlands’ buses, those in Worcester accept contactless payment cards. Around 20% of fare-paying passengers in the city use the facility and First plans to offer price promotions on the Salt Road later this year.

Worcestershire County Council funded the next stop announcement infrastructure, and the buses will shortly benefit from further external money when they are upgraded to meet Euro 6 standards.

“Funding for that work has been gained through Transport for West Midlands (TfWM). We await finalisation of an agreement with TfWM, at which point installation can begin,” says First Midlands Fleet Engineer Carl Woolley. The work will also see the addition of electric radiator fans. It forms part of what Mr Woolley calls “a learning curve” surrounding retrofit technology.

“One of the stipulations of funding availability requires us to either keep the Volvos on the 144 corridor for a minimum of five years, or if we remove them during that time, replace them with Euro 6 compliant buses,” he adds.

The Salt Road branding refers to the Worcester to Birmingham road’s history as a salt trading route. Best Impressions has designed a Roman warrior’s helmet logo as part of the livery and Mr Eggleton adds that further decoration may be added in due course.

The helmet on the side of the bus is a GREEK soldier not a ROMAN.

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ADL 2019