Transport giant First is aiming to win over new passengers in Leeds as D-Day for the city’s controversial trolleybus scheme moves ever nearer.
A total of 18 state-of-the-art double-decker buses have been pressed into service by First on the 49 route that runs between Bramley and Monkswood Gate in Seacroft via Eastgate and St James’s Hospital.
First says the buses have been designed to make journeys as “relaxing and convenient” as possible, with extra legroom, leather seats and free wifi.
The vehicles are also equipped with carbon emission-reducing engine technology.
Leeds West MP Rachel Reeves has hailed the development as “great news” for local passengers.
The introduction of the £3.5m fleet comes as First continues to call for Leeds to ditch its trolleybus plans and instead back a conventional bus scheme.
Bob Dorr, First’s business manager for Leeds, said: “These new buses offer the latest in comfort and convenience for our customers and with low fares and a service every 10 minutes Monday to Saturday daytime, these services provide a real alternative to the car.”
Ms Reeves, who did the honours at a ceremony in Bramley to officially launch the fleet, said: “This is great news for people in Leeds.
“Bus services play a vital role in the community and I welcome this move by First to improve public transport services in Leeds.”
As previously reported by the Yorkshire Evening Post, First is proposing a series of measures which it says would deliver a “radically improved” bus service across West Yorkshire.
It says steps such as the introduction in Leeds of buses modelled on London’s Routemasters would bring greater benefits than the city’s planned £250m New Generation Transport (NGT) trolleybus project at a fraction of the cost.
The Government will make a decision on NGT’s future after a public inquiry into the scheme finishes at the end of this month.