Passenger figures for Bradford’s three FreeCityBuses have now topped 500,000, just as the buses take on a new look when the logos of their sponsors – Bradford College, the University of Bradford and Sovereign Health Care - are revealed.
Between them, Bradford College, the University of Bradford and Sovereign Health Care are contributing £37,500 to the running costs of the service for the next year. From 20 May 2009 the service’s three buses will each be branded with one of the sponsor’s logo and message.
"Bradford College is delighted to be working with Bradford Council and Metro to provide a FreeCityBus service," said Peter Steward, Project Sponsor. "The service complements the College's Green Travel Plan, which is designed to encourage sustainable travel choices for our staff and students and ensure that travel to and from College is undertaken in an environmentally responsible manner. The FreeCityBus service has been hugely popular with our students and staff as it is fast, free and frequent stopping at 14 points across the city."
Ben Tongue, University of Bradford Travel Planner, said: "The Bradford FreeCityBus has proven extremely successful in helping the University of Bradford reduce it's travel related carbon emissions and make it easier for our staff and students to get around the city and make their journey to the university without a car. It is a testament to the services usefulness to our staff and students that the University of Bradford stop on the route is the second most popular stop after the Interchange with 18% of users getting on or off the bus here."
Sovereign Health Care’s chief executive David Lewis said: “We are delighted to support such an excellent resource. Sovereign has operated in Bradford since 1873 and seen many changes in the city; the FreeCityBus is certainly one of the most positive recent changes. It opens up areas of the city that were previously slightly less accessible to those on foot, a real step in the right direction for the people and visitors of Bradford.”
“The support of Bradford College, the University of Bradford and Sovereign Health Care is a major boost to Metro and Bradford Council in the provision of this hugely popular service,” said Metro Chairman Councillor Chris Greaves.
“It shows that the three organisations are backing Bradford and have the interest of the city’s people very much at heart.”
Bradford Council's Executive Member for Environment and Culture, Cllr Anne Hawkesworth, said: "The FreeCityBus has been very popular since it was launched as a pilot scheme back in September.
"We have already shown our support by part-funding it until 2013 and it is very pleasing to see organisations such as the college, the university and Sovereign Health Care getting on board."
Bradford FreeCityBuses run every 10 minutes, between 7am and 7pm Monday to Friday and from 8.30am to 5.30pm on Saturdays. There are 14 stops on its three-mile route, including Bradford Interchange, Forster Square station, retail parks, Oastler Centre, Centenary Square, National Media Museum, Bradford College and the University of Bradford.
The three Bradford FreeCityBus vehicles have space for 46 passengers and are fully accessible, with dedicated space for wheelchair and pushchair users.
Bradford’s FreeCityBus became permanent when Metro’s Tendered Services Working Group approved its continuation until 2013.
By Wednesday 20 May Bradford FreeCityBus will have carried almost half a million passengers since its launch at the end of September, far exceeding its original targets.
Recently Bradford Council and Metro approved annual funding of £120,000 each to run the service until 2013.