The first image of the new vehicle that will be seen on Leeds and Bradford roads in the autumn as part of a major new transport project have been unveiled by FirstGroup.

The Leeds/Bradford “Streetcar”, painted in a royal blue livery, will be the centrepiece of a rapid transit-style service between Leeds and Bradford which will be implemented at the end of October this year.

The vehicles, built by Wrightbus, are being redeployed by FirstGroup from elsewhere in Yorkshire. The majority of the vehicles have from York where they have operated under the ftr brand since 2006. They were withdrawn earlier this year following pressure from the city council’s Labour administration. The remainder of the vehicles are currently in use on service 4 between Pudsey-Leeds-Seacroft, which will revert to double-deck operation.

First, the region’s principal bus operator, is working in partnership with West Yorkshire ITA, Metro, Leeds City Council and Bradford Council, to establish the new transport project that it claims will bring economic and social benefits to the region.

The project will also look to ease car congestion on roads between Leeds and Bradford, after they were recently labelled the most congested in the UK and the seventh most congested in Europe as part of a major study by sat-nav firm TomTom.

The new vehicle livery will be supplemented by creative branding that will signify the economic and social importance of the two West Yorkshire cities. A new customer proposition has also been unveiled which will include free on-board wifi, leather seating and new ticketing systems.

Other benefits will include a service frequency of seven minutes during the Monday to Saturday daytime period and enhanced customer service training for staff will also take place to ensure the highest standards of customer service are met.

First is launching the new Streetcar service between Leeds and Bradford as part of a long term project with WYITA, Metro and Leeds and Bradford Councils to help deliver key local policy objectives, including economic growth and contributing towards the air quality agenda. These include:

  • Helping to achieve future employment and population growth in Leeds and Bradford
  • Supporting targeted regeneration initiatives and economic growth in some of the more deprived areas of Leeds and Bradford
  • Enhancing quality of life by improving access for jobs and services, as well as reducing congestion from regional roads
  • The project also aims to achieve growth in public transport use on the key commuter route as part of a progression to a more sustainable overall transport system in West Yorkshire.

    The local authorities are also supporting the project and at a recent West Yorkshire ITA meeting an initial £74,000 was earmarked for improvements to street infrastructure on the route. Future phases of the project will consider the feasibility of new bus priority schemes to speed up and reduce the variability of journey times on this important transport corridor and First has committed to reinvest any surplus resources as a result of these developments into further frequency and network enhancements.

    Dave Alexander, regional managing director for First in the North of England, said: “We are excited to see the first images of the Streetcar and its striking royal blue livery, which will certainly catch the eye of existing and new bus customers.

    “The recent traffic study by TomTom highlighted the severe congestion issues on Leeds-Bradford roads. This makes the Streetcar project even more important as we work with our partners to offer car users a viable alternative to using their cars for journeys between these two great West Yorkshire cities.

    “On the run up to the launch in three months time, we will continue to keep our customers up to date with key information about this strategically important project that will bring significant economic and social benefits to Leeds and Bradford.

    “Details about branding, routes and fares will be released and so customers should keep their eyes open in the local media, on our website and on our new Twitter feed @FirstWYorks_bus


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