Leeds transport firm’s bus plan gets seal of approval

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Transport giant First is on the right road with its plans for a state-of-the-art bus fleet that could provide an alternative to Leeds’s trolleybus scheme.

That’s the verdict of people across West Yorkshire who were surveyed on the firm’s proposed introduction of double deckers modelled on London’s New Routemaster vehicles.

Nearly 80 per cent of respondents said they would consider using bus services more frequently if the plans came to fruition.

There was also support for the layout of the vehicles from 85 per cent of people questioned for the survey, part of a wide-ranging public consultation on First’s proposals.

The operator’s head of commercial, Paul Turner, 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.”

First claims its plans would deliver greater benefits than Leeds’s New Generation Transport (NGT) project at a fraction of the cost.

The public sector-backed £250m NGT system would run between Holt Park in the north of the city and Stourton in the south.

The Government is expected to announce whether NGT has won approval at the end of this year or the start of next.

First has said it will be harder to justify investing in a new fleet of buses if a direct rival such as NGT gets the go-ahead to operate on one of the city’s main travel corridors.

The company’s New Bus for West Yorkshire plans also include the introduction of smartcard tickets similar to those used by London’s Oyster set-up. First is the biggest bus operator in Leeds.