Platinum buses worth their weight in gold

National Express is expanding its fleet of high-tech environmentally friendly buses following their successful introduction to the West Midlands.

The elegant two-tone grey Platinum buses have proved so popular that the operator now plans to buy 65 more in 2016 to serve every district of the Black Country. National Express is expecting the first new buses to be on the road in the summer.

Platinum buses were first introduced in May 2015 and operate on eight routes across Birmingham, Solihull, Coventry and Walsall.

The £34 million fleet of 58 buses give passengers free WiFi, extra leg room and high-backed comfy seats. Built in Britain by Alexander Dennis Ltd (ADL), they are lighter and more fuel efficient than conventional buses and their Euro 6 engines are among the cleanest in the world.

The buses currently operate on the 900, 957, X51, 997, 934, 935, 936 and 937 routes.

A recent survey showed that passengers are hugely impressed with the new vehicles. Overall satisfaction across all the Platinum routes was 94%. 

98% were satisfied with the comfort they experienced on the bus, and 96% said they were happy with the standard of driving. And 81% of those questioned found the services good value for money.

Cllr Keith Linnecor, a member of the West Midland’s Integrated Transport Authority’s delivery committee, is a bus champion for the 997 route in his ward of Old Oscott in Birmingham. Bus champions are volunteers who monitor a scheme run by Transport For West Midlands (TFWM) to help identify ways of further improving the network.

He said: “I am delighted these superb vehicles are to be expanded across the West Midlands.

“Bus travel is sometimes criticised as being dirty and uncomfortable, which is just not the case.

“The standards on the Platinum service are superb and a great inventive for people to use public transport.”

Peter Coates, Managing Director of National Express West Midlands, said: 

“We’ve been running the Platinums for half a year now and we’re seeing more people making more trips on them. The X51 from Birmingham to Walsall has seen 25% growth and there’s been 10% growth on services to Birmingham International.

“So this year, we’re investing £15 million to make sure that people right across the Black Country will benefit from these excellent new buses.

“I’m particularly pleased that 27% of the people questioned in the customer satisfaction survey were new users of our buses.

“The Platinum services are good news for everyone who lives in the West Midlands because these new buses mean cleaner air in our city centres. A Euro 6 bus is twenty times cleaner than the old pre-1993 Euro 0 buses.”

Picture shows Birmingham City Councillor Keith Linnecor with a National Express Platinum bus. 

Published 15th March 2016