First Leeds is restoring stopping points on its X84 route between Otley and Leeds from 12 July and from Monday 13 July will introduce service 784 running hourly between Otley, Ilkley and Skipton on Monday to Saturday.
This follows the conclusion of a trial to examine passenger numbers on the corridor to help manage social distancing on buses with the easing of lockdown restrictions in recent weeks.
The service will resume pick up and drop off at bus stops between Weetwood Police Station and Headingley through to Leeds Bus Station on inward and outbound journeys from Sunday 12 July.
Analysis from the trial, which began on the 1 June, has also enabled First Leeds to re-introduce a link between Skipton and Otley as a separate service to replace the X84/X85 shared link. The 784 will operate from Monday 13 July with an hourly service Monday-Saturday. In Skipton the 784 will run via Otley Road and Newmarket Street, and will not serve High Street or The Bailey.
Other buses between Ilkley and Addingham are provided daily on service 62. There are currently no buses between Ilkley and Skipton on Sundays.
Passenger data showed First Leeds that the majority of customers using the shared link travelled between Otley and Skipton, and therefore having a dedicated connection will benefit customers by avoiding the potential for problems on the Skipton or Leeds leg of the corridor affecting other sections of the route.
Martin Hirst, Commercial Director of First West Yorkshire, said: “We have more than a month’s worth of data which has helped us to understand that, while we had concerns over capacity with the opening up some retail during June, we haven’t seen a significant impact along the corridor and so are able to bring the bus stops back into use.
“We will continue to keep this under review as further lockdown restrictions are lifted and as we need to take into account any changes in social distancing measures.”
Part of the trial was to assess the possibility to reduce journey times for the longest trips. “As we look further ahead, we are interested in examining ways we can introduce faster and more reliable journeys for customers on this corridor and we will work with councillors and partners including Connecting Leeds and West Yorkshire Combined Authority in taking this forward,” Martin Hirst added.
During June First Bus launched a new map feature on its app which provides live information on available seats and wheelchair space on buses nearby to stops to help customer plan journeys more easily. It is the first bus operator to introduce this digital capability.