Region's first Platinum buses hit the streets

National Express West Midlands has today joined Solihull and Birmingham councillors to launch a £4 million fleet of new luxurious buses which will give passengers extra leg room, free wifi, high backed leather seats and next stop announcements as well as faster journeys.

The 18 new vehicles, which will operate on the 900 and 957 services passing Birmingham airport from Monday, will benefit from bus friendly road improvements thanks to a groundbreaking partnership between the bus company and Birmingham and Solihull Councils. 

Both councils have worked with National Express West Midlands and invested hundreds of thousands of pounds to deliver road improvements that will ensure that buses on these key routes will compete with the car for journey times.  Once the road improvements are made journeys on these routes will be up to six minutes quicker.

Drivers of the services will also wear suits and each route will have a dedicated manager who will be responsible for making sure that buses run on time and responding directly to customers' concerns.

The vehicles are ultra low emission with Euro 6 engines and will reduce harmful emissions such as NOx by 75% and greatly reduce carbon footprint.

The buses look completely different from other buses on the region’s roads.  The new vehicles have an eye catching grey exterior with flashes of brilliant red – unlike anything currently on the roads of the West Midlands.

The buses are part of a record £34 million investment in 171 new vehicles by National Express West Midlands during 2015.

​With another new bus arriving every day for the next few months, by September all 171 of the new vehicles will be carrying passengers across the West Midlands. 

The investment will mean that National Express West Midlands deliver upon the Transforming Bus Travel pledge with public transport co-ordinator Centro to deliver 300 new buses over a two year period.

Speaking about the investment, Paul Thomas, Operations Director of National Express West Midlands said:

“Our new Platinum buses will transform bus travel in the West Midlands giving customers more leg room, free wifi and crucially, thanks to our partnership with local councils, faster journeys.  The buses, which are all built in Britain, will also have more comfortable seats, better lighting and crystal clear CCTV.”

Councillor Bob Sleigh, Leader of Solihull Council and Vice Chair of the West Midlands Integrated Transport Authority (ITA), said: 

“This new fleet of Platinum buses is exactly the type of high quality service the ITA is keen to see more of.

“We believe premium services such as these, using well equipped, low emission buses can play a key role in encouraging more people to make the switch from car to bus and in doing so help cut pollution and the traffic congestion costing our regional economy more than £2 billion a year.”

Councillor Kath Hartley, Vice Chair of Centro, added: 

“These new services will bring real benefits for passengers with quicker, more convenient journeys into our major towns and cities.

“With free on-board Wi-Fi and other creature comforts they are also an attractive proposition for daily commuters and we would urge people to leave the car at home and give these enhanced buses a try.”

The Transforming Bus Travel: Partnership Plus agreement, which was signed by National Express West Midlands and Centro in 2013, is delivering more than £83 million of investment for West Midlands bus passengers over two years, including the 300 new buses. It also includes more real-time information, crime-busting CCTV cameras and on-board cleaning.

Published 22nd May 2015