New luxury Leeds buses boast wifi - and bid to beat congestion

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The new Leeds-Bradford ‘Hyperlink’ service

A new state-of-the-art bus service featuring leather seats and wifi will link Leeds and Bradford from Sunday.

The new Leeds-Bradford ‘Hyperlink’ service was officially launched in Bradford’s Centenary Square and is a new rapid transit style service between Leeds and Bradford. The first vehicles will go into service on Sunday and will link Leeds, Armley, Bramley, Stanningley, Thornbury and Bradford along the existing Service 72 route.

The launch of the service follows on the heels of a recent survey by the satellite navigation firm TomTom which showed drivers on roads in Leeds and Bradford spend more than 80 hours a year stuck in traffic jams. The area is said to have the fastest-growing congestion problem in Europe.

First has refurbished its fleet of Streetcar vehicles for this service and rebranded them ‘Hyperlink’ to signify the modern and technologically advanced nature of the new service. The dark blue vehicles boast a range of exciting extras such as free Wi-Fi, leather seating and new ticketing systems.

Other benefits include an improved service frequency of seven minutes during the Monday to Saturday daytime period and improved customer service training for staff.

First is launching this service between Leeds and Bradford as part of a long term project with Metro and Bradford and Leeds Councils to help deliver key local policy objectives. 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.

First has invested £400,000 in the project. Local authorities are also supporting the project and have provided an initial £74,000 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 improvements into further frequency and network enhancements.

Dave Alexander, Regional Managing Director for First, said:

“Hyperlink is an exciting, strategically important, partnership project that will bring significant economic and social benefits to Leeds and Bradford.”

Metro Chairman Cllr James Lewis said:

“The Leeds-Bradford corridor is a hugely important route and one which is forecast to play a key role in the future development of both our cities and the wider City Region in terms of employment opportunities and economic growth.

“Fast, efficient, transport links along this route are recognised as underpinning this development and I look forward to the Hyperlink working towards this goal.”

John Baron

ohn Baron has worked in a variety of roles for local newspapers since starting his career as a trainee reporter at the Leeds Weekly News in 1994. He has also worked for Wharfedale Newspapers in Ilkley, the Yorkshire Weekly Newspaper Group in Wakefield and was previously a trainer for Johnston Press. In 2010 he was beatblogger for the Guardian's experimental and hugely successful Leeds blog and since contributed to and helped develop as well as contributing to the City Talking since its launch last year.