The Huddersfield FreeTownBus
|Parent||West Yorkshire Passenger Transport Executive|
|Headquarters||Leeds, West Yorkshire|
|Service area||West Yorkshire|
|Operator||First West Yorkshire, Star Travel, Tiger Blue|
FreeCityBus or FreeTownBus is a family of zero-fare bus services which are operated in the centres of several cities and towns in the English county of West Yorkshire. The services operate as FreeCityBus in the cities of Wakefield and as FreeTownBus in the towns of Huddersfield and Dewsbury. The service is run under contract to Metro Connect. FreeCityBus had also operated in Leeds between 2006 and 2011 before being replaced by LeedsCityBus in April 2011 then joining onto route 5 in 2016 and in Bradford before being replaced by Bradford City Bus in 2016.
Since the first service began in 2006, over 11 million passengers have used the free bus services.
The Leeds service began on 30 January 2006 and was the first bus service in West Yorkshire to use this format and was operated by First West Yorkshire. Metro renamed the service LeedsCityBus and introduced a flat 50-pence fare for each journey, with the service running a six-month trial period from 1 April 2011.
This service began on 30 October 2006, after the success of the Leeds service earlier that year. In under six months the Huddersfield FreeTownBus had carried over 100,000 passengers. This service was originally introduced on the basis of a nine-month trial with two buses. The contract was later extended until 2011 depending on funding. A Boxing Day service was introduced in 2007, following funding from Metro, although this has since been dropped after one year.
Unlike the Leeds and Wakefield services, the service makes a complete circle without backtracking, and runs in an anti-clockwise direction. the Huddersfield FreeTownBus links the town's railway station with the bus station, the university and the shops and markets.
The Wakefield service was announced early 2007 to begin at the end of April, and began at the planned time, the first run being around 7:30am on Monday 23 April 2007. Four hundred and fifty passengers used the service on its first running day. The service runs on a fleet of three buses. Star Travel is the current operator of the service. Although as of 2012, Arriva Yorkshire now runs the service, transferring 3 Optare Solo vehicles from the previous operator. And acquiring another one of these vehicles from First Leeds previously used on the Leeds City Bus Service.
The service is the first bus to connect both railway stations, also the first to connect The Ridings, Market and main shopping area to the retail parks.
Proposals for a service in Bradford were first drawn up in 2007 after the successes elsewhere in West Yorkshire but a decision on the scheme was put on hold until December 2007 and then February 2008 by Bradford Council. In June 2008, a start date was finally announced with the first bus running on 29 September 2008. Initially the scheme was run as a 6-month trial, but in April 2009 it was announced that the service would become permanent having attracted more than 4 times the expected number of passengers. Bradford Council and Metro are each providing 50% of the funding and have committed to the service until 2013. In November 2009, it was announced that the 1 millionth passenger had been carried on the Bradford service, and 1.5 million had been reached by June 2010.
There are 3 Optare Solo buses which run the service Monday to Saturday. Each bus is sponsored; one by the University of Bradford, one by Bradford College and one by Grand Central Railway; the latter was originally sponsored by Sovereign Health Care at launch. From launch, the service was run by First West Yorkshire; operations passed to Ladies Only Travel in April 2014, using the same three buses and timetable.
The service runs every 10 minutes and connects Bradford's two railway stations, (Bradford Interchange and Forster Square, with the main shopping area, the college and university and the National Media Museum.
The FreeTownBus started operating in Dewsbury on 12 December 2009. It is being funded by Metro, Kirklees Council and Sainsbury's supermarket, and uses two buses, which are operated by Star Travel.
The service runs every 10 minutes and calls at the railway station and major shopping areas.
- West Yorkshire Passenger Transport Executive
- Free public transport
- List of bus operators of the United Kingdom
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