Leeds bus bosses seek views on green machines

FirstGroup's Tim O'Toole and Leeds West MP Rachel Reeves with one of the new buses.
FirstGroup's Tim O'Toole and Leeds West MP Rachel Reeves with one of the new buses.
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Transport giant First is letting people in Leeds cast their eyes over the vehicle it says offers an alternative to the city’s trolleybus plans.

As previously reported by the Yorkshire Evening Post, First claims a fleet of buses based on London’s New Routemaster double-deckers would deliver greater benefits than trolleybus at a fraction of the cost.

It wants to introduce the green-coloured buses in Leeds and other West Yorkshire cities along with smartcard tickets similar to those used by London’s Oyster system.

First says it is also hoping to work with public sector partners to tackle traffic bottlenecks by making changes to road layouts and signals.

And the firm has now sent one of the double-deckers out onto the streets of the county as part of a consultation on its proposals.

One of its early stop-offs came at Bramley Shopping Centre, where Leeds West MP Rachel Reeves met FirstGroup chief executive Tim O’Toole.

First’s head of commercial, Paul Turner, said: “We want to test the reaction of people across West Yorkshire to the package of measures we are proposing which we believe could radically transform public transport in West Yorkshire.

“Over the coming weeks we will be consulting with politicians, businesses and the public to gain their views.”

Leeds’s public sector-backed £250m New Generation Transport trolleybus scheme would link Holt Park in the north of the city with Stourton in the south.

First says that, if NGT gets the go-ahead, then it will be harder for it to justify investing in the proposed new fleet of double-deckers as a direct rival would be operating on one of its main corridors. The company is the biggest bus operator in Leeds.