A spoof Twitter feed which announces bus cancellations due to rioting peasants and warns passengers not to engage with “hoodies” is causing a social media headache for National Express.
The Birmingham-based transport firm, which runs the vast majority of buses across the West Midlands, is appealing to Twitter to shut down the @Travel_WM account which has been falsely tweeting on its behalf.
Unsuspecting members of the public following it online have been treated to tweets telling them:
* The X62 service is diverted around Northfield and Rubery until Sunday night due to rioting peasants
* The 24 route is a problem for us, a lot of the drivers are “recovered” meth heads and take an inordinate amount of pee-breaks
* Our buses are perfectly safe, as long as you sit downstairs and don’t engage any ‘hoodies’.
Travel_WM has even entered into belligerent exchanges with disgruntled bus users, many of whom seem unaware it is not the voice of National Express.
The feed, which has more followers than National Express’s official bus Twitter account @nxbus, has prompted the operator to contact Twitter to request it be taken down.
Martin Hancock, development director for National Express West Midlands, said: “Many businesses utilise Twitter as a customer service and marketing tool but it is important to remember that it is social media.
"By its very nature, there are people tweeting about the business and fansites on Facebook and we welcome this. So when we were recently made aware of a Twitter account masquerading as an official company account we looked at the content and some of the tweets were offensive.
"We tried to contact the creator directly asking them to change their biography to state it is unofficial, however as they don’t follow the real site, this was not possible.
"Also, as the views are not representative of the business we have notified Twitter and we anticipate the offensive content will be removed shortly.
“A new website for National Express West Midlands will be launched soon and the official tweets will be part of the site.
“We also have twitter accounts for two of our main bus routes.”