Pilot corridor planned for New Bus for West Yorkshire proposals, but First says that it require a ‘supportive environment’ before it makes the move



First West Yorkshire has announced plans for a pilot corridor for its New Bus for West Yorkshire concept, subject to a partnership framework being agreed with the region’s Combined Authority.

It follows the operator disclosing the results of its recent consultation process, which took place between August 2014 and February this year, into the proposals which found broad support for the concept.

Together with Wrightbus, First now intends to produce a design illustration of what the new bus aspect of the proposal could look like, based on the public specification preferences revealed in the consultation.

It has also revealed plans to work with stakeholders to identify a potential corridor for a NBfWY pilot operation, however thus would be subject to a bus Partnership framework being agreed and greater clarity from the West Yorkshire Combined Authority on their medium to long term bus strategy.

Roll out of further corridors would be dependent on the success of the trial.

“If the pilot is successful and the CA’s plans provide a supportive environment for significant investment, the roll out would be phased with the initial tranches to be completed over a five-year period,” First adds.

The NBfWY proposal is a package of measures designed to achieve radical transformation of bus services in West Yorkshire, proposed as an alternative to the NGT trolleybus scheme promoted by West Yorkshire PTE Metro. It would see new buses introduced across the region’s bus network that would have some of the features of London’s New Routemaster, a pre-production model of which was used for the consultation roadshow, with three doors and two staircases to speed up journeys times.

First also envisages an enhanced smart ticketing scheme and road enhancements to improve bus priority. The operator also says that it would align itself with the West Yorkshire Plus Transport Fund’s plans for significant investment to reduce congestion.

The accompanying report examining the consultation reveals that 77% of the 821 respondents to the exercise said that they would consider using buses if the proposals were implemented.

On all measurements, passengers rated the proposed bus highly and 85% of respondents thought that the layout of the new bus was either ‘good’ or ‘very good’. A significant 95% said that they would welcome next stop audio-visual bus stop announcement and many respondents were strongly in favour of the smartcard aspect of the proposal. 64% of respondents said smartcards would be their preferred method of payment.

Commenting on the findings of the consultation, Paul Turner, First West Yorkshire’s head of commercial, said: “The consultation has shown potential for a substantial increase in bus use across the county.

“Through engaging with the public of West Yorkshire we have been able to better understand their transport needs and concerns and we would like to thank all of those who took part in the consultation and provided their feedback.

“Working with our partners, we will use the results to inform future bus design.”


Related coverage in the latest issue of Passenger Transport:

West Yorkshire sets out a vision for transport
Single Transport Plan to link transport with region’s growth agenda

Leaders attack devolution deal
West Yorkshire deal does not go far enough

Yorkshire Rider back on the road
Former PTE bus livery revived as local tribute


This article appears inside the latest issue of Passenger Transport.

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