National Express West Midlands (NXWM) wants to operate at least 500 zero-emission buses by the time the Commonwealth Games come to Birmingham in July 2022. The aspiration was outlined by Managing Director David Bradford when addressing the Confederation of Passenger Transport Bus and Coach Conference on 12 January.
NXWM already has 29 BYD ADL Enviro400EV battery-electric double-deckers in service in Birmingham and Coventry. 20 Wrightbus StreetDeck FCEV hydrogen fuel cell-electric models are on order for 2021 delivery.
Additionally, and subject to the submission of a successful business case to the Department for Transport, a further 170 battery-electric buses will join National Express Coventry thanks to the city’s success in the government’s All Electric Bus Town scheme.
“We want to go further,” says Mr Bradford. “We want 500 zero-emission buses in the West Midlands in 18 months’ time. The eyes of the world will be on Birmingham watching the Commonwealth Games in the Second City. We want to make the Second City into the first city to be all zero-emission.”
NX has already committed to not buying any more diesel or diesel-electric hybrid buses, and it plans to turn NXWM entirely zero-emission by 2030.
Mr Bradford was speaking in a Conference session looking at partnership working. Through the West Midlands Bus Alliance (WMBA), services have continued to be delivered safely during the coronavirus COVID-19 pandemic. Mr Bradford and Transport for West Midlands (TfWM) Director of Integrated Network Services Pete Bond agree that such a success would have been impossible without deep-seated collaboration.
NXWM is currently operating 103% of its pre-pandemic service level, despite 10% of staff being off sick. Partnerships within WMBA are “stronger, not weaker” than they were pre-pandemic, says Mr Bond. “But we have so much more to achieve.”