Harrogate’s amazing Sunday free electric buses power on … thanks to spa town’s local businesses
Boost for Harrogate’s Sunday economy to continue as customer numbers soar by up to 90 per cent
They’ve already delivered a major boost to Harrogate’s economy – and the hugely successful free Sunday journeys on the town’s amazing electric buses are to continue thanks to the town’s leading local businesses.
Harrogate BID, the Business Improvement District set up to attract more people into the heart of town by bringing local firms together to provide extra services, is to sponsor the Harrogate Electrics buses from this weekend.
The good news means free journeys on the electric buses run by The Harrogate Bus Company will have continued for a full calendar year – and during that time, the numbers taking advantage of the free travel offer for shopping and leisure have soared by up to 90 per cent compared with the same months a year earlier.
The Harrogate Bus Company’s General Manager Frank Stanisauskis said: “When we first launched our Sunday Freeway free travel on our electric buses, we saw a very rapid increase of 70 per cent in customer numbers compared with the same months a year earlier – and they continued to go up from there, reaching a rise of over 90 per cent in recent months.
“That’s a truly amazing increase, with many choosing to leave their cars at home and use our zero emission buses instead. In 2019 over 40,000 people travelled with us on Sundays for free across the year – we look forward to welcoming even more on board as our Sunday Freeway offer continues.
“We couldn’t have made Sunday Freeway the enormous success it is without such wonderful support from our three sponsors Slingsby Gin, Harrogate Water and now once again, the Harrogate BID. On behalf of all our happy customers, we thank them all for making this possible.”
Harrogate BID Board member Bob Kennedy, who owns designer menswear store G23 on Cambridge Road, said: “A key part of our role is to support local shops and businesses and drive footfall, and continuing our support for the Sunday Freeway free electric buses allows us to support a local levy paying business in an environmentally friendly way which benefits us all.
“The impressive rise in customers using the free Sunday buses speaks for itself – it’s delivering a vitally important increase in numbers coming into our town centre while helping to keep the air clean. That can only be good news for our locally owned businesses, and for Harrogate as a whole.”
Harrogate Electrics bus services 2A, 2B, 3 and 6, which link Bilton, Dene Park, The Knox, Jennyfield and Pannal Ash with the town centre, will now continue to be free to use every Sunday.
Support from Harrogate BID kept the Sunday electric buses free for the last four months of 2019, with The Harrogate Bus Company covering the cost of providing free travel itself in January 2020. Harrogate BID’s support followed on from two further partnerships earlier last year between the bus operator and two of the town’s best-known businesses, Harrogate Water Brands and The Spirit of Harrogate, makers of Slingsby Gin.
Bus operator The Harrogate Bus Company won the Gold Award in the prestigious Environment category at the bus industry’s Oscars, the 2019 UK Bus Awards, for its mission to create the UK’s first ever Low Emission Bus Town. Awards judges described Harrogate’s electric buses as “a beacon of excellence, truly demonstrating the outstanding innovations that are possible within the industry.”
Timetables for the free Sunday buses and all of The Harrogate Bus Company’s services are available online from: https://www.transdevbus.co.uk/harrogate, from the travel kiosk at Harrogate Bus Station, or via the Transdev Go mobile app, available to download free from the Apple App Store or Google Play.