The hugely successful free Sunday journeys on Harrogate’s ground-breaking electric buses are to continue running all the way to Christmas, with support from Harrogate BID – the Business Improvement District set up earlier this year, bringing local firms together to provide extra services and attract more people into the heart of town.
The good news comes after a highly successful summer on the town’s electric buses run by The Harrogate Bus Company, promoted far and wide as ‘Sunday Freeway’, with 70 per cent more people now taking the bus for free on Sundays on three local routes linking many of Harrogate’s residential areas with the town centre.
Harrogate Electrics 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 until Christmas, thanks to the exclusive deal with Harrogate BID.
Harrogate BID Chairman John Fox said: “It’s clear that the innovative Sunday Freeway buses are making a vital contribution to the economic viability of the town centre on Sundays.
“Our key objectives as an organisation promoting business success in the town include increasing footfall for our local shopping and leisure destinations, while addressing issues such as accessibility and road congestion and protecting Harrogate’s environment.
“The Sunday Freeway electric buses are proving highly successful in making access to our wonderful town centre easier for everyone – and with the all-important build-up to Christmas and the New Year festivities not far away, it’s the ideal time for us to get on board and help to keep this superb free asset on the road for everyone in Harrogate.”
The new deal with Harrogate BID follows on from two successful partnerships 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. Support from both firms has helped the electric buses to provide free travel for all customers this spring and summer.
The Harrogate Bus Company’s CEO Alex Hornby said: “People said free buses couldn’t go on for long, but thanks to amazing support from Harrogate’s business community, we’re attracting more and more people to travel into the heart of our beautiful town.
“Our free Harrogate Electrics buses every Sunday deliver a significant boost to other locally owned businesses in the town centre, with up to a 70 per cent increase in customer numbers on three routes into town since we began providing free journeys in March of this year.
“This new agreement with Harrogate BID means that by the end of the year, as many as 40,000 people will have travelled for free with us on the Sunday Freeway and we’ll have provided free travel on 43 successive Sundays – great news for Harrogate’s economy and environment.
“With great shopping and leisure attractions, and events including the ever-popular Harrogate Christmas Markets to come, we’re looking forward to welcoming even more people to leave the car at home, hop on a free bus, and enjoy a relaxing family Sunday in the heart of Harrogate.”
Today’s news means free travel for all customers on routes 2A, 2B, 3 and 6 will continue for at least another three months, until Christmas.
Timetables for the free Sunday buses and all of The Harrogate Bus Company’s services are available online at: http://www.harrogatebus.co.uk, 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.