Diamond Bus

This article is about the bus operator in the West Midlands. For the bus operator in Greater Manchester, see Diamond Bus North West.
Diamond Bus

Wright Eclipse bodied Volvo B7RLE in Redditch in September 2010
Parent Rotala
Founded 1984 (as Birmingham Coach Company)
2000 (as Diamond Bus)
Headquarters Birmingham
Service area West Midlands
Service type Bus services
Chief executive Chris Blyth
Website www.diamondbuses.com

Diamond Bus[1] is a bus operator in the West Midlands. It is a subsidiary of Rotala.


Plaxton Pointer bodied Dennis Dart in Walsall in June 2007
MCV Evolution bodied MAN 14.240 in Red Diamond livery in June 2011

Birmingham Coach Company & Diamond Bus

In 1984 Geoff Howle commenced a coach operation trading as the Birmingham Coach Company. Following deregulation of the bus industry in 1986, Howle applied to operate route 16 between Hamstead and Birmingham in competition with West Midlands Travel.[2]

In 2000 Birmingham Coach Company was re-branded as Diamond Bus, replacing many of their existing Leyland Nationals, expanding their network in Birmingham and the Black Country. By 2003 Diamond Bus had become a National Express contractor and opened a depot in Bradford.[2]

Go West Midlands

In December 2005 the Go-Ahead Group purchased Diamond Bus[3] and in February 2006 Probus Management[4] with over 100 vehicles and merged the two companies to form Go West Midlands.[5]

Rotala Group

In March 2008 Go West Midlands was sold to Rotala who also owned Central Connect and North Birmingham Busways.[6][7] Rotala originally kept the Diamond business separate from Central Connect[8] and Ludlows (purchased later[9]), instead switching a number of routes between the three operators. From November 2011 Central Connect was re-branded as Blue Diamond.[10]

Red Diamond & Black Diamond

In July 2008 new buses were put into service in Redditch on routes 57 and 58, branded as Red Diamond.[11] Since then a number of routes in North Worcestershire have been re-branded as Red Diamond along with new routes in competition with First Midland Red's in Redditch. At the same time new buses were allocated to a number of Black Country routes, branded as Black Diamond.

Diamond Staffordshire

The Diamond Staffordshire brand was introduced in late 2012 for the company's services around the Lichfield area.

Diamond West Midlands

In late 2012 Blue Diamond, Black Diamond and Signature became Diamond West Midlands and operate services across the West Midlands.

Black Diamond

Plaxton Centro bodied Volvo B7RLE in Black Diamond livery in September 2010
Marshall Capital bodied Dennis Dart SLF in Blue Diamond livery in September 2010

In 2008, upon takeover by Rotala, Diamond started to "localise" their operations. In the Black Country, this meant that the brand became Black Diamond with 20 new Plaxton Centros (eight of which have since moved to Wessex Bus due to service cuts). These were new for routes 401, 402, 404, 404E and 404H.

In 2009, Diamond launched eight more Plaxton Centro buses on route 9, these using Royale Black Diamond branding. Route 202 Halesowen - Bromsgrove and 4H Hayley Green - West Bromwich uses Royale Black Diamond buses.

Most of the routes these buses were new for have since either had new buses (404E), withdrawn (404/H) or had older stock transferred to them (401/2) .

In October 2010, Diamond bus branded 10 MCV Evolution bodied MAN 14.240s for the 404 Walsall – West Bromwich service under the branding Black Country Connection, the service operates every 6–8 minutes.

These buses displaced the Black Diamond branded buses of which 2 have transferred to Wessex Bus and the rest have been cascaded to other routes, e.g. the 56.

Blue Diamond

Blue Diamond was formed from the merger of Zak's Buses, North Birmingham Busways and Birmingham Motor Traction. In January 2008 Ludlows, Halesowen was purchased. Originally branded Central Connect, in November 2011 it was rebranded as Blue Diamond.[10]


Mercedes-Benz Citaro in Signature livery in September 2010

On 7 June 2010, Central Connect launched the Signature brand with two Solihull routes that were taken over from National Express West Midlands, the S2 (S2/S2A/S2C) and S3 are operated with Optare Solo SRs with leather seating and on-board WiFi.

On 26 July 2010, the Signature brand took over route 82 from National Express Coventry but following a more direct route between Solihull and Coventry using Mercedes-Benz Citaros and service S4 (taken over from Grosenvor) using MCV Evolutions, again both feature leather seating and free on-board WiFi.

On 27 March 2011, the Signature brand expanded again with the addition of route 30 Solihull-Acocks Green which was withdrawn by National Express West Midlands.

When Central Connect was rebranded as 'Blue Diamond' in late 2011, the Solihull Signature brand was retained. As at October 2013 the Signature branding is applied to eight routes.[12]

Diamond Worcestershire

Wright Crusader bodied Dennis Dart SLF in Birmingham in September 2010

In early 2013 Red Diamond was rebranded as Diamond Worcestershire.

In a working partnership with Worcestershire County Council, a new fleet of Red Diamond bus services were introduced to operate in Redditch. These buses are mainly Diamond owned Wright Eclipse bodied Volvo B7RLEs but there have been several re-painted Dennis Darts in operation.

From 22 January 2007, Diamond were forced to withdraw their evening services on routes 57 and 58 in Redditch, which were under contract to Worcestershire County Council, due to persistent vandalism and violence on the routes.[13] The company told the council that they would no longer risk operating in the evenings. A month later on 25 February 2007, Diamond also withdrew the evening services on route 246 between Redditch and Evesham due to low passenger numbers.[14]

On 8 June 2008, the company introduced 57A and 58A journeys alongside their existing 57 and 58 routes, the new journeys would serve the Alexandra Hospital, after First Midland Red withdrew links to the hospital.[15]

The operations in Redditch were rebranded as Red Diamond in July 2008 to coincide with the launch of six new buses, with a livery designed to be similar to what was used on Midland Red buses.[16] By September 2008 a further six new buses were in operation, along with 10 older buses in the new livery.[17]

From 31 August 2008, Diamond Bus stepped up their operation of commercial and non-commercial services in Redditch significantly, to the point where they operated more buses in Redditch than main rival First Midland Red.

In February 2009, Red Diamond won Worcestershire County Council contracts to operate a number of services around Droitwich and Redditch starting in April 2009,[18] these are routes 19 to Meadows Estate, 20 to Westlands, 20A to New Chawston, 137 to Dunhampstead, 140/141 to Bromsgrove and 157 to The Ridings. In addition to this, extra daytime journeys are to be provided on Redditch services 50, 64 and 70. The company will also once again operate evening services in Redditch on routes 55A, 56A, 57 and 58. Service 64 between Bromsgrove and Birmingham will also be renumbered to 144 and re-routed to follow the same numbered service operated by First.[19] Droitwich residents were unhappy about the changes, showing concern about losing the known and respected drivers from the local routes, however, Diamond Bus entered into an agreement with the former operator of the routes, allowing them to continue operating with the same drivers, while Diamond Bus provide the buses and uniforms.[20]

In 2010, amid much criticism of the poor performance of the existing buses from Worcestershire County Council and passengers, Diamond brought nine MCV Evolutions for services 362, 363 and 382.

In January 2013 Red Diamond purchased First Midlands's Kidderminster and Redditch depots and re-branded the operations as Diamond Worcestershire.[21]

Former operations

After Rotala purchased Diamond Bus in 2008, the Diamond Bus operation was expanded to include the operations of four companies operating in the same region which were already owned by Rotala.

Birmingham Motor Traction

Birmingham Motor Traction[22] operated a number of services in Birmingham with a fleet of varied buses, mostly Dennis Darts in a dark blue and white livery, although many buses ran in dealer all-white. They operated a number of services under contract to the West Midlands Passenger Transport Executive. It was purchased by Rotala in 2007.


Ludlows operated a number of services in Halesowen. It operated a varied fleet of around 20 white buses, all of which were low-floor. It was purchased by Rotala in 2007

In January 2009, Diamond announced that the Ludlows operation was to be integrated with the Diamond operations, with all routes and vehicles moving to the Tividale depot and running under the Diamond brand.[23]

North Birmingham Busways

North Birmingham Busways[24] was a small bus operator established in the mid 1990s, and based near Erdington. Its services operated throughout North Birmingham, using, in the main, a distinctive livery of green and cream. In addition to bus services, the company also offered PCV training.[25]

On 18 June 2007 it was purchased by Rotala.[26] On 20 August 2007 the bus service operations and vehicles transferred to Rotala's Central Connect subsidiary.


Zak's Bus and Coach Services[27] was founded in Great Barr by Kevin Fazakarley in 1978. In October 2006 the business was purchased by Rotala subsidiary Flights Hallmark, and although the original plan was to transfer the assets and operations to Flights Hallmark, contract issues necessitated the continuation of the Zak's legal entity, the company being renamed Central Connect Limited in April 2007.[8]

Rotala relocated the operation to Flights Hallmark's Aston depot, merging with an existing West Midlands Passenger Transport Executive contracted service previously awarded to Flights.


  1. Companies House extract company no 2531054 The Diamond Bus Company Limited formerly Go West Midlands Limited formerly The Birmingham Coach Company Limited
  2. 1 2 Diamond Bus Introduction Reddibus
  3. Acquisition of Birmingham Passenger Transport Services Limited Go-Ahead Group 2 December 2005
  4. Companies House extract company no 4384063 Probus Management Limited
  5. Acquisition of the Business and Assets of Probus Management Limited Go-Ahead Group 22 February 2006
  6. Disposal of Go West Midlands Go-Ahead Group 3 March 2008
  7. About Black Diamond Rotala
  8. 1 2 Companies House extract company no 3506681 Central Connect Limited formerly Zaks Bus & Coach Services Limited
  9. Rotala buys bus business Ludlows of Halesowen for 850,000 stg Thompson Financial 21 June 2007
  10. 1 2 About Blue Diamond Rotala
  11. About Red Diamond Rotala
  12. Signature services in Solihull Signature
  13. "Night buses cancelled after attacks". Redditch Advertiser. 22 January 2007. Retrieved 28 February 2009.
  14. "Low ticket sales forces bus cuts". Evesham Journal. 15 February 2007. Retrieved 28 February 2009.
  15. "Alex bus help". Redditch Advertiser. 10 June 2008. Retrieved 28 February 2009.
  16. "New bus fleet hits the roads". Redditch Advertiser. 22 July 2008. Retrieved 28 February 2009.
  17. "Go green with Red Diamond". Redditch Advertiser. 8 September 2008. Retrieved 28 February 2009.
  18. "Bus firm wins 11 tenders (From Worcester News)". Worcesternews.co.uk. 20 February 2009. Retrieved 12 June 2009.
  19. "Diamond expands operations in Redditch and Worcestershire". Retrieved 28 February 2009.
  20. "Moves to ease bus service fears (From Worcester News)". Worcesternews.co.uk. 21 April 2009. Retrieved 12 June 2009.
  21. First sells Worcestershire bus services Worcester News 25 January 2013
  22. Companies House extract company no 4392415 Birmingham Motor Traction Limited
  23. Changes to Ludlows operations. Retrieved 12 January 2009.
  24. Companies House extract company no 2852859 North Birmingham Busways Limited
  25. North Birmingham Busways - "Services" - Accessed 4 January 2007
  26. Rotala to buy NBB - Accessed 18 June 2007
  27. Zaks Coaches Zaks Coaches
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