Is NXWM the worst bus company?

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TSR :D

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In terms of investing money into their bus fleet.

I've thought about this and checked on other bus companies operating in different cities including London and other smaller cities. It seems obvious that most of bus in other cities are relatively new, clean and modern. This is not case for NXWM where most of the buses are old and dirty. One more thing I've noticed is that other smaller cities have higher bus frequency (On average) on most of bus routes than NXWM and have a better coverage.

I've even noticed that other bus companies in very same city, does better at maintaining their network of buses than NXWM, notable examples are Central connect and Diamond (I think they're from same company).

Anyone know the reason for this? Is it just another an old man at top of capitalist ladder wanting more money?
 
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Deerfold

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In terms of investing money into their bus fleet.

I've thought about this and checked on other bus companies operating in different cities including London and other smaller cities. It seems obvious that most of bus in other cities are relatively new, clean and modern. This is not case for NXWM where most of the buses are old and dirty. One more thing I've noticed is that other smaller cities have higher bus frequency (On average) on most of bus routes than NXWM and have a better coverage.

I've even noticed that other bus companies in very same city, does better at maintaining their network of buses than NXWM, notable examples are Central connect and Diamond (I think they're from same company).

Anyone know the reason for this? Is it just another an old man at top of capitalist ladder wanting more money?
Comparing anywhere with London, London will generally come off better. Routes are not run commercially but under contract to TfL who will specify not just what features a bus should have but when buses should be replaced. Having said that the average fleet age in London is now slowly going up.
 

SS4

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In terms of investing money into their bus fleet.

I've thought about this and checked on other bus companies operating in different cities including London and other smaller cities. It seems obvious that most of bus in other cities are relatively new, clean and modern. This is not case for NXWM where most of the buses are old and dirty. One more thing I've noticed is that other smaller cities have higher bus frequency (On average) on most of bus routes than NXWM and have a better coverage.
I've not noticed it myself, certainly NXWM don't seem bad to me. Their stock can be dirty perhaps because of the plebs who don't care about what they leave behind and there has been new stock relatively recently including low floor buses. I've not used buses much in other cities so perhaps I'm either biased or can't compare fairly but it's rarely been a problem. What services did you travel on? The 28 admittedly never smells clean :lol:

I've even noticed that other bus companies in very same city, does better at maintaining their network of buses than NXWM, notable examples are Central connect and Diamond (I think they're from same company).
Central Connect are now Blue Diamond along with Red Diamond (south of town) and Black Diamond (the black country) and all are part of the Rotola group :D
 

TSR :D

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Comparing anywhere with London, London will generally come off better. Routes are not run commercially but under contract to TfL who will specify not just what features a bus should have but when buses should be replaced. Having said that the average fleet age in London is now slowly going up.
And if you compare NXWM to other smaller cities, and NXWM still comes out as worse. Average fleet age on the buses may be going up but to me, it seems much cleaner and better maintained.

Shouldn't Centro be doing same job as TFL? At moment it seems like Centro is invisible to average joe due to little work they do to improve the transport.
I've not noticed it myself, certainly NXWM don't seem bad to me. Their stock can be dirty perhaps because of the plebs who don't care about what they leave behind and there has been new stock relatively recently including low floor buses. I've not used buses much in other cities so perhaps I'm either biased or can't compare fairly but it's rarely been a problem. What services did you travel on? The 28 admittedly never smells clean :lol:



Central Connect are now Blue Diamond along with Red Diamond (south of town) and Black Diamond (the black country) and all are part of the Rotola group :D
I generally travel any bus everywhere in the brum except West (Hagley road) and Southwest (Bristol to Alchester/Moseley road) where NXWM possibly is investing most of money on. Other than that, I travel pretty much most of bus routes in the Brum regularly.
 

Ivo

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Bad by "Major City Major Operator" standards, but in practice really not bad at all. Huge swathes outside London are awful for investment; these days, many such areas have become recycling centres where ex-London stock goes after it is no longer deemed adequate for the capital.
 

SS4

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And if you compare NXWM to other smaller cities, and NXWM still comes out as worse. Average fleet age on the buses may be going up but to me, it seems much cleaner and better maintained.
Fair enough, I've not travelled outside Birmingham much by bus :oops:

Shouldn't Centro be doing same job as TFL? At moment it seems like Centro is invisible to average joe due to little work they do to improve the transport.
They should be but I doubt their budget stretches far enough. I'm not entirely sure if buses were deregulated in London but they certainly were in Birmingham. There is nothing more I'd like than to see Centro do a TfL. Integrated fares is a good idea and I'd imagine they're working on the (IMO pointless) Metro extension and the areas around it like Moor St Queensway.
Any PTE will have a hard time convincing Joe Public they're doing anything.

I generally travel any bus everywhere in the brum except West (Hagley road) and Southwest (Bristol to Alchester/Moseley road) where NXWM possibly is investing most of money on. Other than that, I travel pretty much most of bus routes in the Brum regularly.
Fair enough. I was just wondering because some routes seem worse than others, I only tend to travel northeast towards Sutton from town although usually it's a 71 from Sutton or a 167 from Erdington to Asda, the latter being a blue diamond
 

tbone

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Shouldn't Centro be doing same job as TFL? At moment it seems like Centro is invisible to average joe due to little work they do to improve the transport.


.
This is a debate that is particularly active in the North East, with Nexus, the Tyne and Wear equivilant of Centro, wanting to introduce a similar sort of system as TfL has. This is proposal is strongly opposed by Go North East and as well as having a lot of positives, it has a lot of drawbacks, not least cost.

You can also have the problem of the PTE being too controlling with regards to the tenders, there's very little flexibility in London and often this may produce vehicles that are well suited to London routes but require a lot of money to be useful elsewhere- where else needs dual door MPDs? Or indeed Borismasters.

You can also end up with a situation where smaller companies can't compete with larger ones and as such NXWM may win more than Blue/Red/Black diamond, because they can afford to.

Like everything, there are upsides and downsides but a TfL contract system probably wouldn't make the buses any cleaner
 

sprinterguy

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I wonder what age of bus you deem to be old, TSR?!

Personally, I'm quite impressed with National Express' West Midlands seeming continual investment in fleets of new vehicles: Recently, a further batch of new Scania Omnicity single decks have replaced the Mercedes O405s that I used to see up and down the Soho Road, which were of 1996/7 vintage, and most recently a number of new Enviro 400s have entered service on the Walsall Road corridor, joining those that have operated the express services on that route for a few years now, which have replaced Geminis which were only introduced in 2002/2003 IIRC. This appears to leave the Wright Crusader bodied Volvo single decks as the oldest vehicles in the West Midlands fleet, which are 12-15 years old and withdrawals of the oldest ones appear to have started.

So based on this experience, National Express West Midlands undertake fleet withdrawals when vehicles reach around fifteen years old, which seems to be in line with the majority of other operators in provincial cities around the UK. There's even new double deck Enviro hybrids on the 22/23 route now as well, keeping pace with developments in other cities including Sheffield, Edinburgh and Newcastle.

I also never fail to be impressed that NXWM operate such a large fleet of modern double deckers that is being continually added to: That's a breath of fresh air when you come from Sunderland, where all the Stagecoach operated (former municipal) services that used to be run with double deckers have been downgraded to single decks, albeit with the latest form of Dennis Darts and the like, in recent years, as have many of the Go North East operated routes! At least in that area though Newcastle are moving in the right direction with a fleet of new Enviro 400s, and even hybrids, replacing Dennis Darts.

I do have to say that the interior condition of the majority of NXWMs' bus fleet often leaves a lot to be desired, and it does give the impression that they are not as well maintained as many other fleets around the country: When I was in Edinburgh recently, I was astonished at how well presented all of the Lothian Buses vehicles that I travelled on were, and even back in Sunderland both the former municipal operation now run by Stagecoach and the former NBC interests now run by Go North East demonstrate much cleaner vehicles than those operating in Birmingham. It is however possible that this has more to do with the class of passenger using the buses in such a large city as Birmingham that contains areas suffering from high social deprivation than with maintenance regimes.

It has often seemed to me that the vehicles operated on the routes of the former municipal operator, which is NXWM for the West Midlands area, often appear more uncared for than those run by the companies that have taken over the former National Bus Company operations. This is probably down to the nature of the routes, and the breadth of area coverage, that the municipal operations had to cover that were never going to be as lucrative as those operated by NBC organisations.
--- old post above --- --- new post below ---
Also, it probably doesn't help that the vast swathes of Volvo B7s that NXWM operated are, IMO, utterly crap, gutless things that already seem to be well and truly past their best at barely ten years of age. The sooner that they are all replaced by Enviro 400s the better if you ask me, I'm absolutely fed up of the things wheezing past me!
 

Aictos

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I support the TfL model being used outside London as it encourages the various operators to provide better services, this should apply equally to both Rail and Bus but also means competition to provide the better service.

This surely is a much better way of providing services then the existing status quo and hopefully would encourage investment in these areas.
 

sprinterguy

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They should be but I doubt their budget stretches far enough. I'm not entirely sure if buses were deregulated in London but they certainly were in Birmingham. There is nothing more I'd like than to see Centro do a TfL. Integrated fares is a good idea and I'd imagine they're working on the (IMO pointless) Metro extension and the areas around it like Moor St Queensway.
I'm sure that National Express West Midlands would vehemently disagree with such a scheme! They already despise the "meddlings" of "the other side" at Centro!

It did seem while I was working there that Centro were focused primarily on the Metro extension and where they were going to put all the buses around the outside of the city centre than anything else. Although, that is probably more as a result of the area of the company I was working in.
 

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TfL is in a unique situation, precisely because buses in Greater London (and ONLY there, in Great Britain) were, and are, not deregulated. As such, TfL almost total control over setting of timetables, routes, vehicles, ticketing, etc, than any other approximately equivalent body elsewhere in Great Britain. (The situation in Northern Ireland is,legally,more like that in London). It would be very difficult to replicate the London-style situation in the rest of the country as things stand, although I inclined to think that so doing might well make sense, at least in some of the larger cities.
 

Schnellzug

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no, WorstBus is always worst in every respect imaginable, obviously.
--- old post above --- --- new post below ---
TfL is in a unique situation, precisely because buses in Greater London (and ONLY there, in Great Britain) were, and are, not deregulated. As such, TfL almost total control over setting of timetables, routes, vehicles, ticketing, etc, than any other approximately equivalent body elsewhere in Great Britain. (The situation in Northern Ireland is,legally,more like that in London). It would be very difficult to replicate the London-style situation in the rest of the country as things stand, although I inclined to think that so doing might well make sense, at least in some of the larger cities.
i would tend to agree there, although please, not with "elected" politicians; we can see the result of that in London, with one mayor sweeping aside much loved national icons, and the next one sweeping aside what the previous one brought in to replace them, and so on, per ardua ad astra. I think the only thing that can really bring about some sensibel long term investment and stability is a kind of benevolent dictatorship, like London Transport in the 1930s, perhaps.
 

TSR :D

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Bad by "Major City Major Operator" standards, but in practice really not bad at all. Huge swathes outside London are awful for investment; these days, many such areas have become recycling centres where ex-London stock goes after it is no longer deemed adequate for the capital.
Yes, it is bad as in major city/major operator standards.
Fair enough, I've not travelled outside Birmingham much by bus :oops:



They should be but I doubt their budget stretches far enough. I'm not entirely sure if buses were deregulated in London but they certainly were in Birmingham. There is nothing more I'd like than to see Centro do a TfL. Integrated fares is a good idea and I'd imagine they're working on the (IMO pointless) Metro extension and the areas around it like Moor St Queensway.
Any PTE will have a hard time convincing Joe Public they're doing anything.



Fair enough. I was just wondering because some routes seem worse than others, I only tend to travel northeast towards Sutton from town although usually it's a 71 from Sutton or a 167 from Erdington to Asda, the latter being a blue diamond
I agree, it should be regulated by Centro like TFL usually does for London. I also view Midland Metro extension as pointless as it could be done by walking or taking a train from Moor street to BSW easily.
Transport in NE brum by NXWM is pretty good due to Brum to Sutton Coldfield express bus routes as well as Erdingtion six ways.


This is a debate that is particularly active in the North East, with Nexus, the Tyne and Wear equivilant of Centro, wanting to introduce a similar sort of system as TfL has. This is proposal is strongly opposed by Go North East and as well as having a lot of positives, it has a lot of drawbacks, not least cost.

You can also have the problem of the PTE being too controlling with regards to the tenders, there's very little flexibility in London and often this may produce vehicles that are well suited to London routes but require a lot of money to be useful elsewhere- where else needs dual door MPDs? Or indeed Borismasters.

You can also end up with a situation where smaller companies can't compete with larger ones and as such NXWM may win more than Blue/Red/Black diamond, because they can afford to.

Like everything, there are upsides and downsides but a TfL contract system probably wouldn't make the buses any cleaner
I understand the fact that centro being like TFL is not always solution to the problem without any new problems arising, but one thing for sure is that there will be a fewer problems occurring.


I wonder what age of bus you deem to be old, TSR?!

Personally, I'm quite impressed with National Express' West Midlands seeming continual investment in fleets of new vehicles: Recently, a further batch of new Scania Omnicity single decks have replaced the Mercedes O405s that I used to see up and down the Soho Road, which were of 1996/7 vintage, and most recently a number of new Enviro 400s have entered service on the Walsall Road corridor, joining those that have operated the express services on that route for a few years now, which have replaced Geminis which were only introduced in 2002/2003 IIRC. This appears to leave the Wright Crusader bodied Volvo single decks as the oldest vehicles in the West Midlands fleet, which are 12-15 years old and withdrawals of the oldest ones appear to have started.

So based on this experience, National Express West Midlands undertake fleet withdrawals when vehicles reach around fifteen years old, which seems to be in line with the majority of other operators in provincial cities around the UK. There's even new double deck Enviro hybrids on the 22/23 route now as well, keeping pace with developments in other cities including Sheffield, Edinburgh and Newcastle.

I also never fail to be impressed that NXWM operate such a large fleet of modern double deckers that is being continually added to: That's a breath of fresh air when you come from Sunderland, where all the Stagecoach operated (former municipal) services that used to be run with double deckers have been downgraded to single decks, albeit with the latest form of Dennis Darts and the like, in recent years, as have many of the Go North East operated routes! At least in that area though Newcastle are moving in the right direction with a fleet of new Enviro 400s, and even hybrids, replacing Dennis Darts.

I do have to say that the interior condition of the majority of NXWMs' bus fleet often leaves a lot to be desired, and it does give the impression that they are not as well maintained as many other fleets around the country: When I was in Edinburgh recently, I was astonished at how well presented all of the Lothian Buses vehicles that I travelled on were, and even back in Sunderland both the former municipal operation now run by Stagecoach and the former NBC interests now run by Go North East demonstrate much cleaner vehicles than those operating in Birmingham. It is however possible that this has more to do with the class of passenger using the buses in such a large city as Birmingham that contains areas suffering from high social deprivation than with maintenance regimes.

It has often seemed to me that the vehicles operated on the routes of the former municipal operator, which is NXWM for the West Midlands area, often appear more uncared for than those run by the companies that have taken over the former National Bus Company operations. This is probably down to the nature of the routes, and the breadth of area coverage, that the municipal operations had to cover that were never going to be as lucrative as those operated by NBC organisations.
--- old post above --- --- new post below ---
Also, it probably doesn't help that the vast swathes of Volvo B7s that NXWM operated are, IMO, utterly crap, gutless things that already seem to be well and truly past their best at barely ten years of age. The sooner that they are all replaced by Enviro 400s the better if you ask me, I'm absolutely fed up of the things wheezing past me!
I don't know what age, but at moment, it is quite showing its age. Most of bus they use is Dennis Trident which is nearly always old and dirty, and interiors of this bus is even worse. Volvo B7s are pretty bad. Most of TV they have in the bus is turned off, I sometimes wonder what would happen if they had spent those money on iBus instead of TVs.
Live timings from Satellite system on the bus shelters is usually out of the service and, more than often not, they usually only show the timetabled timings as bus satellite navigation system is turned off/broken.
I know that many bus run through social deprivation areas, but it still doesn't make up an excuse for bus to be poorly maintained. Those very same areas are usually ones have poor bus service in terms of reliability and frequency timings compared to other areas even though if they're usually ones who use it more.

I support the TfL model being used outside London as it encourages the various operators to provide better services, this should apply equally to both Rail and Bus but also means competition to provide the better service.

This surely is a much better way of providing services then the existing status quo and hopefully would encourage investment in these areas.
True.
 

dvboy

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The main problems I find with NXWM are 1. punctuality, and 2. it's always the same routes that get the new buses, and the ones with the oldest buses remain with the oldest buses or get older fleet cascaded down to them. Many buses are filthy and litter strewn which makes me wonder how often they are cleaned (and how well) and the drivers don't seem to care about the vehicles either, so when they do have time at the end of a journey before turning around they never walk the bus and pick any litter. If the company doesn't care for its fleet and allows it to get into the state it does, that subconsciously rubs off on passengers.
 

MCR247

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From what I've seen in Birmingham, the buses aren't the best. Sooo many have their windows etched; can't remember ever seeing that here more than once or twice! Maybe I've just got high standards since I'm used to Nottingham standards... :P
 

BrummyBoy

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I think NXWM operate fairly well for a large city operator, sure the buses are all wrecked but there all low floor and the average fleet age is going down due to continued investment. Also the fares are well priced when compared to other city's and towns.
 

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The OP want's to try First Wirral, with the newest vehicle's on an 04 plate, vehicles regally in service without working blinds juist paper stickers showing route number, First Wirral make NXWM look like big girls blouses.
 

SS4

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At £3.80* for a day's travel they're not in bad condition although I remember the days when it was £2.80/£3 for a daysaver :oops:. I would like them to bring back the evening saver though, it seemed like there was a market for it.

* Although you may as well pay £4 for the multi-operator ticket or £5.80 for an off-peak Daytripper if your journey includes the train/metro

edit: can't forget the 20p short hop for a child. My mates used to use it to get back from school
 
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Tomonthetrain

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I remember the days when it was £2.80/£3 for a daysaver :oops:.
Those were the days!

My local depot (Pensnett) has recently had a batch of 61/12 plate B7RLEs allocated new. The last brand new permanent allocation was the Volvo B6LEs!

(Note I'm not including National Express Dundee 2030 (Ex 1908) or the E300 1908 as they were loanees and I'm not including the E400s because they were new to Birmingham Central!)
 

TSR :D

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Now, I've noticed, that NXWM is beginning to invest the money into North Birmingham to East Birmingham buses, I've seen new bus running on 71, 72, 73, and some more routes.

Although, their punctuality is still bad, and satellite system is nearly useless.

Today, I was on road that has many bus routes totaling to 3-4 every minutes. I've just missed one and had to wait 20 minutes for another bus.
 

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Now, I've noticed, that NXWM is beginning to invest the money into North Birmingham to East Birmingham buses, I've seen new bus running on 71, 72, 73, and some more routes.

Although, their punctuality is still bad, and satellite system is nearly useless.

Today, I was on road that has many bus routes totaling to 3-4 every minutes. I've just missed one and had to wait 20 minutes for another bus.
That always seems to happen, wherever you are. You can guarantee that even if it says "every 3 minutes", you'll have to wait at least 10 minutes. I don't know why they bother with bus timetables in cities, it's surely impossible to keep to them.
 

bb21

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That always seems to happen, wherever you are. You can guarantee that even if it says "every 3 minutes", you'll have to wait at least 10 minutes. I don't know why they bother with bus timetables in cities, it's surely impossible to keep to them.
Have you heard the saying that "buses always come in threes"? ;) So an advertised 3-minute headway is in actual fact 9 minutes.
 

SS4

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That happened to me on Monday with the 11C at six ways. Two came along and then none for ten minutes :|. Erdington was a nightmare with the cross keys but I digress.
 

Statto

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That always seems to happen, wherever you are. You can guarantee that even if it says "every 3 minutes", you'll have to wait at least 10 minutes. I don't know why they bother with bus timetables in cities, it's surely impossible to keep to them.
That can occur when routes are every 10 minutes as well, my local route is operated by Arriva Merseyside & meant to be every 10 minutes over the common section, however even off peak buses can turn up in 2s or 3s.

If the OP thinks NXWM is bad, Arriva Merseyside have just raised the fares again, to £2 for shortest journeys, & Child fare has gone up to £1:33.
 

bb21

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That can occur when routes are every 10 minutes as well, my local route is operated by Arriva Merseyside & meant to be every 10 minutes over the common section, however even off peak buses can turn up in 2s or 3s.

If the OP thinks NXWM is bad, Arriva Merseyside have just raised the fares again, to £2 for shortest journeys, & Child fare has gone up to £1:33.
In Leicester, Arriva routes with 20-minute headways can see 3 turning up within as many minutes of each other, meaning a one hour gap somewhere, and that is during the rush hours of a normal day with no accident or other mitigating factors. :(

I really don't think it can get any worse.
 

AndrewP

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I am going to commnt from the perspective of someone who regularly visits Birmingham but does not need to use the buses.

  • The buses do not seem that old generally but I am aware that age is secondary to condition and reliability
  • The buses look a bit tatty but primarily because they are white - a colour which is very difficult to keep clean - a new colour scheme (or swapping white with blue or silver) would make the buses look instantly cleaner
  • Traffic in Birmingham is a lottery so keeping to time must be nigh on impossible for any operator
  • Stagecoach `have always refused to enter Birmingham as they see NXWM / TWM as too good at what they do - they must be doing something right
 
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