New buses are just what the doctor ordered

New vehicles mark the start of £10million investment into Dudley

National Express West Midlands have today unveiled eight new buses that will operate on the 222 route from Dudley to Brierley Hill via Russells Hall Hospital.

The vehicles are a £1.5million investment into the area and are designed specifically to make it easier for buses to get onto housing estates in the area. The buses are a slimmer version of a normal single deck bus, meaning they will be able to manoeuvre around estates easier and quicker.

The eight new buses will feature industry leading technology including next stop announcements to alert passengers with visual and hearing impairments where the bus will be stopping next.

The 222 service will also have distinctive green route branding, making it easier for customers to find and use this particular service when making regular journeys to hospital appointments.

To encourage customers to use the new vehicles, National Express West Midlands and Centro have launched a joint leaflet giving people information on the service and vouchers for cheaper bus travel.

These new vehicles mark the start of a larger £10million investment programme between National Express West Midlands and Centro.

As well as the new buses, Centro, the region's transport authority, is installing new shelters and more Real Time Information displays along the route.

The work is being funded from a £10million scheme to improve bus service across the Black Country. Around £5million of that is coming from the Government's Better Bus Area Fund, with £1.5million from Centro, £1.5million from Westfield, owners of the Merry Hill shopping centre and a further £2million from bus operators.

Steve Hale, General Manager National Express West Midlands said: "These new vehicles are a big investment into our services in Dudley and Brierley Hill. They feature the latest advancements in customer comfort, including a state of the art heating system that ensures our buses are cool in the summer and warm in the winter.

"The new design of the vehicle, which is slimmer than regular buses, will also mean that we can serve housing estates easier than we have previously been able to."

Cllr Kath Hartley, Centro's Vice Chair and Lead Member for Putting the Passenger First, said: "We warmly welcome this investment in new buses for the Black Country and it demonstrates the commitment of all parties to improving public transport in the Brierley Hill area.

"These new buses with next stop announcements are the first of their kind in the Black Country. They are just another example of how we are working together to make people's journeys as easy and convenient as possible. The announcements will be particularly useful for those passengers who may not be familiar with the route."

Published 7th February 2013