Bus passengers in the Black Country know where they’m a-gooin – thanks to announcements on their journey delivered in an authentic local accent.
Kerry Jukes-Rowe, a general manager for National Express West Midlands who lives in the Dudley borough, is the voice of the system used on new buses travelling the number 1 service between Wolverhampton and Dudley.
And the overall verdict from passengers? They think Kerry’s accent is ‘bostin’.
Travellers on the route can hear the 41-year-old stating the name of the present stop and the next one as she guides them on their journey.
Kerry, who lives in Pensnett, said she had been asked by National Express West Midlands to become ‘the voice of the number one’.
“As the number one is one of the Black Country routes my accent is perfectly suited for the announcements. I am really proud of my accent and it has been a real honour to be asked to do this,” she said.
“A lot of people mock the way we speak around here but the truth is Shakespeare sounded a lot more like me than he did Hugh Grant,” she said.
Kerry said it had taken just over two hours to record her voice for the system on the new hybrid bus service.
“I had to read out first the outbound and then the inbound journey with one take for each. I did make one mistake so had to re-record one of the stops but in all it went really well.”
Kerry was born in Bloxwich and lived in the Merry Hill area of Wolverhampton for eight months before her family moved to Moxley. She moved to Pensnett at the age of 18 and has lived their ever since.
Kerry started her career driving for Merry Hill Minibuses. After five years, she became a traffic supervisor and then an admin supervisor. She was assistant operations manager at the company’s Pensnett depot, taking over as operations manager for Acocks Green, in Birmingham, in 2008.
She became the South Birmingham general manager in 2011 and has responsibility for a fleet of 250 buses.