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Members of the
West Yorkshire Integrated Transport Authority (ITA) have approved
plans for improvements to a key bus route between Bradford and
Bus operator First is proposing to increase the frequency on
service 72 to every seven minutes, Monday to Saturday daytime, and
to re-deploy the 'Streetcar' buses currently used on service 4. The
buses, supplemented by the Streetcars previously in use in York,
will be refurbished before going into service.
At today's meeting the ITA Executive Board approved
£74,000 work to upgrade stops and shelters along the route
and to amalgamate a number of stops on Leeds city centre's Eastgate
to create a 'super stop' similar way to one introduced recently on
Boar Lane as part of the Trinity development work.
"This represents a significant investment in vehicles and
infrastructure by Metro and First," said Metro Chairman Cllr James
Lewis. "As well as the refurbished buses, many shelters and bus
stops along the route in Armley, Stanningley, Thornbury and
Bradford Moor will be updated and given raised kerbing to allow
level boarding of the Streetcars.
"Service 72 runs along one of the key Leeds - Bradford
corridors, and the improved service would help reduce congestion by
offering commuters an attractive alternative to the car."
Further investment in the fleet by First could see the
introduction of wi-fi and ticketing initiatives, with the eventual
aim of increasing the frequency to 10 buses per hour. Meanwhile,
service 4 will revert to conventional bus operation, but in line
with requests from passengers in the area will extend from Waterloo
in Pudsey to Thornbury Barracks and Highfield Green.
"In recent years, we've seen patronage over the route increase
to the point where over a third of travel-to-work journeys along
this important corridor are made on service 72," said Bradford
Council's Portfolio holder for Transport, Cllr Val Slater.
"By working together, First, Bradford and Leeds Councils and
Metro will be able to deliver a high-quality travelling experience
for existing and new bus passengers.
"I am please the ITA has to supported these proposals for this
key route connecting Bradford and Leeds."
Dave Alexander, Regional Managing Director for First in the
North of England, said: "This is an exciting strategically
important project that will bring significant economic and social
benefits to Leeds and Bradford.
"We look forward to strengthening the agreement between First,
WYITA, Metro, Leeds and Bradford Councils to help us achieve our
joint aim of achieving passenger growth leading to a more
sustainable transport system in West Yorkshire."
With funding for infrastructure enhancements approved , the new
service 72 could be in place in time for the scheduled service
changes in October 2012.