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The previous Travel Coventry logo.


National Express Coventry is the current trading name and brand name of West Midlands Travel Ltd (part of the National Express Group), a company which operates bus services from its depot in the city of Coventrymarker in the West Midlands region of Englandmarker. All of West Midlands Travel Ltd other bus depots in the West Midlands operate under the name National Express West Midlands. National Express Coventry previously operated under the trading names of Travel Coventry, Travel West Midlands and West Midlands Travel. The majority of the vehicle fleet is still in Travel Coventry livery.

History

In 26 October 1986 West Midlands Travel Ltd came into existence, and stems from the 1986 deregulation of the bus industry in Englandmarker and Walesmarker. It was previously the bus operations of the West Midlands Passenger Transport Executive (WMPTE) which had originally been the separate operations of the Birminghammarker, Wolverhamptonmarker, Walsallmarker, West Bromwichmarker and Coventry Corporations. Then from April 1995 the company was purchased by the National Express Group and in September 1996 was re-branded to trade under the name Travel West Midlands. On 9 December 2002 the Coventry depot attained a more local identity and began trading as Travel Coventry and from 4 February 2008 National Express Coventry confirmed as the new name for Travel Coventry.

National Express Group re-branding

Within the next few months National Express Coventry will be applying a temporary logo to several of its vehicles to highlight to those unaware the change from 'Travel Coventry' into 'National Express Coventry'.

The new livery will be applied to vehicles when they go in for maintenance. It is believed that National Express aim to have over half of its vehicles in the livery by February 2009.

Future

With National Express group about to be brought out by a Cosman Family Group, it is reported that Stagecoach Holdings wants to purchase the UK Bus Operations.

Reliability

National Express Coventry have been subject to many complaints over the reliability of some of their bus services. Complaints are frequently heard from students who claim that buses routinely just do not turn up when they are expected to.A network review took place in the first quarter of 2006 which resulted in many routes being revised, removed or introduced from 2 April 2006, then after two months of extensive service monitoring, reliability checks and public feedback thereafter National Express Coventry tweaked some services to further improve the quality of service to their customers.

Vehicle types

More information on the National Express Coventry fleet is available on the National Express West Midlands Fleet page.

The following table is a summary of the current passenger service fleet which totals 164 vehicles :
Chassis Bodywork Quantity Seating Other Info Image
Optare Solo Optare 8 27/29 "Mini" single deck bus
Volvo B6LE Wright Crusader 8 37 "Midi" compact low floor single deck bus
Mercedes-Benz O405N Mercedes-Benz 46 43 Full sized low floor single deck bus
Scania OmniLink K230UB Scania 15 43 Full sized low floor single deck bus
Dennis Trident 2 * Alexander ALX400 or
TransBus ALX400
47 75 Low floor double deck bus -
23 of these have bodywork under the Alexander brand and 24 of these have bodywork under the TransBus brand (different only in name)
Volvo B7TL ** TransBus ALX400 10 74 Low floor double deck bus
Volvo B7TL Wright Eclipse Gemini 10 72 Low floor double deck bus
Mercedes-Benz O405GN Mercedes-Benz 10 59 Articulated single deck bus (also called a "bendy bus" or "bendibus")
Mercedes-Benz O530 Citaro Mercedes-Benz 10 56 Articulated single deck bus (also called a "bendy bus" or "bendibus")


Table footnotes:
* Two offside seats in front of stairs on upper deck otherwise similar to Volvo B7TL with TransBus ALX400 bodywork
** Four offside seats in front of stairs on upper deck otherwise similar to Dennis Trident 2 chassis with Alexander ALX400 or TransBus ALX400 bodywork


As of 8 July, 2009 all of National Express Coventry's buses are of easy access type.

Route lists

PrimeLines

The PrimeLines initiative is a £42 million budgeted scheme which aims to improve all aspects of bus journeys on a number of selected showcase routes radiating out from the city centre of Coventry. Bus stops will be wheelchair friendly, with raised kerbs for easier boarding. New shelters, that are airier and well lit. Eventually many of the shelters will have electronic passenger information installed, so waiting passengers will know when the next bus is due. To improve reliability, the routes will have bus priority measures implemented at traffic signals and junctions, and where possible there will be lengths of bus lanes to get the bus past general traffic queues.

On the "University Corridor" route (number 12 bus), bus lanes and gates have been instituted in various places, and it is estimated that at peak hours the total time for the full journey between the city and Warwick University could be reduced by approximately 1 minute 50 seconds. However, the plans for this were finalized before the Council obtained a report by Jacobs UK Ltd. The report concluded that there were only two "pinch points" on the route, and neither of these has been given any bus priority measures, whereas measures have been put in place where they are not deemed necessary. The bus gates are also interesting in that they often turn red for other traffic when no bus or taxi is approaching.

The PrimeLines route along the Ansty Road, involving as it did the confiscation of private frontages to houses on Ansty Road, amid considerable protest from homeowners, has also attracted controversy.

The PrimeLines scheme is based on bus showcase schemes previously tried in Bristol and Birmingham, none of which delivered significant sustained increase in bus usage or any fall in congestion or total car use. One of the first bus priority measures for the Coventry scheme, a bus gate at the junction of The Butts and Albany road, had to be dismantled after it caused serious congestion problems for traffic leaving the city centre or coming off the inner ring road.
There are reports of increased congestion in traffic coming towards the city centre along the Butts, as the inbound bus lane took out one of three existing lanes, forcing traffic that had used the left-hand lane with the intention of turning left onto the ring road to add to traffic in the middle lane, and then hold up middle lane traffic as vehicles queue in that lane to join the few yards of free road at the end of the bus lane available for cars needing to turn left at the roundabout.


Coventry City Council approval of PrimeLines was secured in part with a claim that congestion would be reduced and that there would be a 25% increase in bus use on all PrimeLines routes, but the claim is wholly unsupported by any evidence, and tends to be contradicted by experience of bus showcase schemes elsewhere in the country: the best single route ever has managed a 25% increase in patronage (though it is not clear how this was calculated), however this seems to have come from increased use by non-car owners; and no better than a 6% shift has been recorded between modes of transport, and there is no evidence that this is sustained. Centro’s own figures indicate that bus showcase schemes offer at best a 15% increase in usage on those specific routes where every conceivable improvement is implemented, with no indication of how much of this comes from a shift from private cars to buses.

There appears to be no evidence available as to whether drivers of other vehicles, held up by bus priority measures and the general congestion caused by them, try to make up time by driving faster or otherwise more hazardously when the opportunity presents itself, nor on whether such measures may aggravate the phenomenon of "road rage".

The PrimeLines consortium held a public consultation on elements of the University Corridor PrimeLines scheme, in a bus on a car park between the back of the Old Clarence public house and what was then the building site for a new block of flats, during August 2007. According to a report to the Council’s Cabinet, around 100 people attended this and 29 people were in support of the bus lane scheme. A petition against the scheme totalling 1,928 signatures was also received by the Council.

See also



References

External links




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