The way we work has shifted dramatically over the last 18 months, from presenteeism being the norm to a more flexible environment where we share our time between the boardroom and the kitchen table.
To respond to this, National Express West Midlands is trailblazing the way we travel to and from the office as it sees more and more of us opting to arrive on its new generation of innovative buses.
There’s no mistaking it, bus travel has changed dramatically over recent years and now offers the modern commuter a cost-effective and, most importantly, a more environmentally friendly way of getting in and out of the city. In fact, buses are already one of the cleanest ways to travel – a full double-decker takes up to 75 cars off the roads.
No parking fees and no clean air zone charges – instead you get a fuss-free, stress-free journey. Simply sit back, stretch your legs – there’s even free phone chargers and WiFi access on Platinum buses so you can catch up on those emails – safe in the knowledge that you won’t miss your stop thanks to regular announcements.
A New Generation Of Buses
The new fleet offers both luxury and clean energy, marking a new era of travel throughout Birmingham and the West Midlands.
Arrive in style with luxurious Platinum buses that offer free 4G WiFi, USB points to charge your devices, comfier seats and extra leg room. They boast crystal clear CCTV for passenger safety, bright LED interior lighting, improved soundproofing and audio next stop announcements. They’re also lighter and more fuel-efficient than conventional diesel buses, and their engines are among the cleanest in the world.
“If you see one of our older registration buses this doesn’t mean it is a gas guzzler though”, explains David Bradford, from National Express West Midlands. “We have retrofitted hundreds of our older buses with new exhaust systems and our long-term goal is to become the UK’s most sustainable bus company, with our fleet becoming fully zero-emission from 2030.
In July 2020, National Express West Midlands launched its first electric vehicle bus fleet (Solihull-Birmingham) with a second being introduced in Coventry a few months later. These innovative vehicles are powered by renewable green energy – even the heaters run off the battery. Drivers and engineers have been specially trained to work with electric buses because they behave differently to their traditional counterparts; they charge in four hours and can run for 190km before needing another charge. This fleet of British-built electric buses are powered by renewable energy so they’re totally zero-emission, it doesn’t stop there though…
David says, “Later this year, we will begin running Birmingham City Council’s 20 new hydrogen double-deckers. Then we’ll be able to look in-depth at which kinds of routes lend themselves to hydrogen or electric buses and what the most efficient mix of vehicles in our fleet should be going forward.”
Paving The Way With Sustainability
If everyone switched just one car journey a month to a bus or coach instead, that would mean up to a billion fewer car journeys, saving two million tonnes of CO2.
Diesel cars are the biggest contributors to NOx pollution from road transport, accounting for 71% of emissions, compared with just 6% for buses and coaches. On a per-passenger kilometre basis, a full modern bus performs better on emissions than the average private car and also uses road space much more efficiently. Even a five-mile journey on a normal diesel bus means you emit half the carbon you would if you went by car.
Did you also know that if you are the owner of a vehicle that isn’t compliant with the new Clean Air Zone (and meet other specific criteria), you can sign up for the council’s Vehicle Scrappage and Travel Scheme? This could make you eligible for up to £2,000 in travel credits that can be redeemed across bus, train and metro – making your daily commute more sustainable!
Tickets & Offers
Whether you’re in the city for a business meeting or popping out for post-work drinks, there are a number of different ticket options available designed to fit in with how you want to travel.
One-off meeting? No problem – pay for a £4 Day Saver ticket for unlimited trips all day. If you need a few days at the office opt for a Day Saver Bundle, which offers pre-paid tickets from the mTicket app and they are valid for the next 90 days: a five-day bundle costs £19, while a ten-day one costs just £36 (prices on Platinum and electric services are the same as on standard buses too!).
If you choose to use contactless to pay as you go, the price is capped as you tap meaning you pay no more than £4 a day, £11.50 for three days or £15 for a week of travel. Just tap a contactless bank card (or the banking app on your phone) on the ticket machine each time you get on. This way, you can make as many bus journeys as you like and when all your fares add up to a certain amount, you won’t be charged more – National Express West Midlands takes the hassle out of fees by working out when you’ve reached a cap because every journey is logged when you tap the same contactless card or device.
What’s more, if you’re planning a day out with the family you can add a child for just £1. If you have a travel card or purchase a Day Saver (after 9:30am) up to three children can travel with you for just £1 each (offer is valid any time at weekends and after 9:30am Monday to Friday). And at weekends, an extra adult can be added for just £2 (offer is a cash payment, valid all day Saturday, Sunday and bank holidays).
To find out more about sustainable travel click HERE
For details on the Vehicle Scrappage and Travel Scheme click HERE