Harrogate District Chamber of Commerce News

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7 Dec 2017 by Matt Harrison


Commuters enduring packed trains invited to sample First Class travel on Transdev’s city centre to city centre express buses – as plans for Boxing Day buses are revealed

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Fed-up commuters enduring packed trains every day between Leeds and Manchester are being invited to swap congested carriages for First Class comfort by the operators of a recently-launched express bus service linking the two Northern cities.

Bus operator Transdev, which runs Cityzap, are offering holders of weekly and monthly rail season ticket holders the chance to sample the luxury bus service free of charge, simply by showing their train season ticket to the bus driver.

The offer runs all next week, starting on Monday (11 December 2017) and continues for seven days – and it comes as rail commuters prepare to face an average 3.6 per cent rise in regulated fares, including season tickets, from January 2 next year – the biggest increase for five years.

It comes as Cityzap’s Leeds to Manchester express bus route continues its rapid growth following a successful launch on 5 November, which saw nearly 1,500 people travel on the service in its first week.

The high quality, low fares bus service was extended to the cross-Pennine route following the success of the original award-winning Cityzap service between Leeds and York, which carried a quarter of a million passengers in its first 12 months.

And there’s more good news from Cityzap for the festive season, as on Boxing Day – when trains will be at a standstill – the new Cityzap buses will be running every hour, all day, providing a vital link for shoppers heading to the sales in both Leeds and Manchester city centres.

Cityzap’s General Manager, Steve Ottley, said: “We’re delighted with the great start to our new Cityzap service between Leeds and Manchester – lots of customers have contacted us to say how much they enjoy travelling with us, not least because it offers outstanding value for money compared with the cost of driving and parking, or going by train.

“We’re also seeing a growing number of commuters switching to Cityzap for the daily journey to work – and so with Christmas just around the corner, we think now is the ideal time to offer hard-pressed rail season ticket holders a chance to try travelling in style – and in a comfortable leather seat – on Cityzap.

“Our Cityzap buses offer First Class comfort at fares over three times cheaper than the train – and with comforts like fast and free WiFi, USB power points at every seat and a friendly welcome on-board from our hand-picked team of drivers, we’re confident that once rail season ticket holders try us, they’ll be back for more.”

Cityzap is already providing a highly competitive option on both quality and price, designed to attract commuters from driving or taking the train on one of the most crowded rail services in Britain.

A ‘Gold’ seven-day season ticket valid on Cityzap and all Transdev buses across the North, from Preston and Blackburn in the west to the Yorkshire Coast in the east, is available from drivers or via the new Transdev Go smartphone app for just £34 – that’s less than half the £42.60 cost of a Standard Class seven day season ticket by train, valid only between Leeds and Manchester – and that’s before rail season ticket prices rise further next month. A monthly ‘Gold’ ticket for Cityzap, offering even greater savings, is available online or via the Transdev Go app.

Cityzap was launched following extensive customer research across the UK and Europe by bus operator Transdev, which revealed that customer perceptions of bus travel suffered due to the perception that even though buses linked major cities, the number of stops served along the route made it difficult for the bus to effectively compete against the train and the private car.

The launch of Cityzap’s pioneering service between Leeds and York in March 2016 swept those barriers aside, and a follow-up survey in December 2016 showed an impressive 38 per cent of customers had switched to Cityzap from the car or the train.

Cityzap’s General Manager, Steve Ottley, said: “Our idea is simple – we provide First Class travel, with coach leather seats, USB power points at every seat and fast and free Wi-Fi, at astonishing value for money fares which are much cheaper than going by train or driving.

“Our drivers have been hand-picked to offer a safe and friendly service – and as each bus is fitted with ‘zap-nav’, drivers can choose the quickest route to keep everyone moving. If we can get people there quicker, we will!

“We know our customers want to travel straight to the heart of the city, so in Manchester we stop at Piccadilly Gardens, next to the Metrolink and bus station for easy connections and close to the Arndale Centre – and at Chorlton Street, next to the coach station and Canal Street.

“In Leeds we stop at the city bus station, right next to Leeds Market and the prestigious new Victoria Gate shopping centre – and again, ideal for connections across Yorkshire, including Harrogate on the 36, and York on Coastliner and our other Cityzap route.”

The Cityzap express is also proving popular with commuters and leisure travellers in the Halifax and Huddersfield areas, as all buses call at Ainley Top, just off the motorway, for easy park and ride and local bus connections.

Buying tickets for the service has also been made easy. An all-new smartphone app, Transdev Go, offers a range of bargain day, weekly and monthly tickets for travel on Cityzap and a network of connecting services across the North of England from Preston in the west to the Yorkshire Coast in the east.

The app also gives users access to real-time live departure times from all stops on the new route – and a live news feed to make sure everyone’s in the know before they go.

More information on Cityzap, including times and bargain fare deals, is available online at: http://www.cityzap.co.uk.