A range of luxury buses boasting air conditioning, leather seats and tinted windows have been hailed a success after attracting an extra 100,000 passengers on board each month.
The fleet which travels on six routes through Birmingham, Walsall and West Bromwich enjoys a stringent cleaning regime and passengers can even claim refunds if buses do not run on time.
And on a recent visit to Birmingham, shadow transport minister Theresa Villiers praised Centro and National Express for encouraging more people to use the service.
She also said the use of Real Time Information, which gives passengers accurate data about when their next bus will arrive, also added to their appeal.
Ms Villiers said: “The improvements to bus services delivered by the partnership between Centro and National Express are very impressive.
“The progress made on Real Time Information is clearly making a big difference and helping to make the bus a much more attractive travel option than it has been in the past.
“It is also good news that the partnership will be continuing to invest in measures to improve the passenger experience such a smart card technology.”
The luxury service was launched in January on the 934 to Pheasey, the 993 to Streetly, the 997 to Walsall, the 1 from Acocks Green to Five Ways, the 377 from Walsall to Sutton Coldfield, and the 451 from West Bromwich to Sutton Coldfield.
The frequency of the route was increased and Centro replaced 79 bus shelters along the routes with modern designs.
And new figures show the introduction of the buses resulted in a 12 per cent rise in passenger numbers along the six routes.
Centro chief executive Geoff Inskip said: “These latest figures clearly show providing high-quality bus services, ones that are clean, frequent and safe, will attract people out of their cars, and help combat the congestion which is so damaging to our economy and environment.
“This partnership shows what can be achieved by working together in the interests of the travelling public.”
National Express director Neil Barker said: “Our partnership and relationship with Centro in improving bus services for the people of the West Midlands is crucial as is delivering great results.
“There is a lot more to do, but we are moving quickly in the right direction which is benefitting people, especially those who want to leave their car at home and do the right thing, which is using public transport as a great alternative.”
The buses also include digital CCTV cameras.