New Leeds Flexibus service lets passengers name their pick-up point
Passengers in East Leeds can now summon a bus to within three minutes of their location thanks to a new on-demand service.
Launched by West Yorkshire Combined Authority, Leeds City Council and First West Yorkshire, the Flexibus service is available to the residents of East Leeds.
It aims to connect people to local places, transport hubs and key destinations within the area for a flat rate of £2 per trip for adults whilst senior and disabled people travel free after 09.30am on weekdays and all day on Saturdays. Blind person pass holders travel free all day on weekdays and on Saturdays whilst under 19s are a reduced £1.20.
The pilot scheme will serve as the first digital Demand Responsive Service in West Yorkshire and is part of the regions ambitious Bus Service Improvement Plan adopted by the Combined Authority on October 22.
A new fleet of seven fully electric buses, each able to carry 12 passengers has been funded by the Leeds Public Transport Improvement Programme and will operate in the areas of Richmond Hill, Cross Green, Leeds City Region Enterprise Zone and extending into Leeds Bus Station.
Residents in the area east of the A64, Seacroft, Whinmoor, Stanks, Swarcliffe and Manston will also benefit.
Tracy Brabin, Mayor of West Yorkshire, said: “I welcome the introduction of the new bus service in East Leeds. We absolutely must work hard to make transport easily accessible, reliable, and affordable.
"The East Leeds areas that are taking part in the pilot fall into the bottom 10% of scores from the Index of Multiple Deprivation (IMD) scores in England. I want to see this improve for the residents of East Leeds."
The service will help people get to medical appointments, school, and work among others. Links will also be provided to Killingbeck Asda, Hunslet Morrisons and St James’s Hospital that are external to the zone.
Branded the 'FlexiBus' it is a pre-bookable service that connects people to local places within the East Leeds area and will pick-up passengers from a safe and convenient place within a three-minute walk of their location.
Speaking ahead of the official launch on Tuesday, Coun Kim Groves, West Yorkshire Transport Committee Lead Member for Public Transport, said: “This is an incredibly positive step to improving connectivity for people in East Leeds. The new bus service is easy to book, very reasonably priced and it is flexible. Buses are available to all members of the public.
"I encourage people to take advantage of this new service, to access amenities and services to help them out in their everyday lives.”
For those travelling further afield the FlexiBus will connect residents to local main bus routes as well as the Cross Gates trainline.
Coun Helen Hayden, the city council's executive board member for infrastructure and climate, expressed her delight at the fully electric service stating: "The green, zero-emission electric buses will complement existing services and enable people to make those shorter journeys to the shops, work, leisure, or medical appointments."
Tom Bridge, Operations Director at First, said: “We have a dedicated team of drivers for FlexiBus who have been trained on the digital technology we use to devise route planning based on customer bookings, as this does not use a conventional network of bus stops.
“They also have detailed local knowledge of the area to assist with pick up and destination points to support customers. “We are confident this will prove a hit with communities in East Leeds.”
The service must be booked an hour in advance and via the FlexiBus app, downloadable via the Google Play and Apple Stores.
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