First buses announce increase in customer numbers

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New figures show that the number of people using First buses in West Yorkshire is on the rise.

Compared to the same period last year First is now welcoming on board an extra 100,000 customers a week.

Over the last 12 months First has introduced a range of service improvements in Halifax, Leeds, Bradford, and Huddersfield that have driven up customer satisfaction levels and attracted more people onto the bus. The improvements include more journeys on time, lower fares and investment in new buses delivering the latest in customer comfort.

Metro Chairman James Lewis has praised First for encouraging more people to use its buses.

Service reliability has improved by closely managing services using the latest GPS vehicle tracking technology and introducing timetable improvements – leading to over 94 per cent of journeys starting on time.

First has also introduced new lower prices including a maximum single fare on the Headingley-Leeds bus corridor and reduced week tickets in Huddersfield and Halifax. The introduction of these weekly tickets followed the successful launch of a new, cheaper weekly ticket in Bradford and have proved very successful giving customers a reduction of over 40% on the alternative week tickets.

Customers have also welcomed the introduction of over 100 buses in the last 12 months. This £25m investment has delivered the latest standards of service quality for customers on corridors such as Leeds A65 and the Bradley-Huddersfield 328 service including wifi.

First is now planning to build on this success into 2014 with a continued focus on service reliability, introducing new value for money offers and further vehicle investment. These initiatives are part of First’s plans to attract more people onto buses by working closely with local councils & Metro.

Dave Alexander, regional managing director for First in West Yorkshire said: “I am delighted that we have seen this impressive 5% customer growth on our buses in West Yorkshire.

“Over the last 18 months we have invested heavily in improving our service delivery standards with new vehicles and the transformation of our business across the region. We have more to do but the feedback from customers confirms that we are making good progress.

“This has given us the confidence to introduce fares reductions to address local affordability issues and further improve value for money.

“All these improvements and our further investment plans are delivering better services for our customers and helps us to attract new customers from other modes of transport such as the car.”

Metro Chairman James Lewis said: “Feedback from public transport users regularly tells us that in addition to reliability and punctuality, passengers rate value for money, customer service and comfort highly. “It is good to see that by accepting the importance of these issues, First is carrying more passengers and that local people are benefitting from their initiatives and I look forward to working with bus operators to extend these types of benefits to all West Yorkshire bus users.”