In a timely boost for those with stretched family budgets after the festive holidays, bus operator The Harrogate Bus Company today confirms its ‘Sunday Freeway’ free travel deal on its award-winning Harrogate Electrics routes is to continue throughout the first month of 2020.
The good news comes as the bus operator reveals new data showing its free travel offer led to a huge 90 per cent increase in the number of customers choosing to use the electric buses on Sundays in November 2019, compared with the same month in 2018.
Harrogate welcomed thousands of visitors to its annual Christmas market in November, and with the final day of the event on Sunday 17 November, many took advantage of the Sunday Freeway promotion to reach the town centre instead of battling busy roads and congested car parks.
The Harrogate Bus Company CEO Alex Hornby said: “We couldn’t have made our Sunday Freeway free travel the enormous success it is without such wonderful support from our three sponsors, Slingsby Gin, Harrogate Water and the Harrogate BID. On behalf of the many thousands of customers who’ve benefited in 2019, we thank them all for their help in making this possible.
“Customer numbers travelling on our free Sunday buses rose by a record-breaking 90 per cent in November 2019 compared with the same month a year earlier. That’s a truly amazing increase, with many choosing to leave their cars at home and using our zero emission buses instead – reducing pollution and congestion and bringing extra custom to locally owned businesses in the town centre.
“January can be a lean time after Christmas, and so we want to set a positive example by giving our town a special gift to celebrate both the New Year and the great success of Sunday Freeway as a superb free asset for Harrogate.
“To make sure everyone can enjoy Sunday journeys on our award winning, zero emission buses as 2020 begins, we’re covering the cost of providing free travel ourselves in January, and we look forward to announcing our next funding partner for February.”
Sponsorship from Harrogate BID – the Business Improvement District set up in 2019 to bring local firms together to provide extra services and attract more people into the heart of town – kept the Sunday electric buses free for the last four months of the year. Its support followed on from two further 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 all three organisations enabled the free Sunday journeys to run on 43 weekends during 2019, with over 40,000 people travelling for free across the year – delivering a significant boost to Harrogate’s economy while helping to protect its environment.
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 in January 2020.
News of the extended free travel offer and significant rise in customer numbers comes after operator The Harrogate Bus Company was chosen as winner of 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 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.