West Yorkshire Trip Report

West Yorkshire Trip Report
A modern Transdev Aireline branded Optare Versa pictured in Keighley, working the 60 to Leeds.Tom Harrison

Those of you who follow us on Twitter, will know that Tom Harrison briefly explored Leeds, Bradford and Keighley on Sunday 20th January 2019. This is his trip report.

Taking The 67 to Keighley

The morning started at Bradford Interchange, where the first objective of the day was to ride The Keighley Bus Company’s 67 service to Keighley via Cullingworth. A Plaxton President bodied Volvo B7TL was allocated to this service, but as I’m not much of a note taker these days, so sadly I couldn’t tell you what the registration or fleet number was.

The journey took just under an hour end to end and the scenery along the route was lovely, there was even a blanket of snow in Cullingworth. The 67 service is a nice alternative to The Shuttle service 662 that also operates between Bradford and Keighley but via Crossflatts, Bingley, Saltaire and Frizinghall.

Final thoughts… Patronage is low but that can be expected for a rural route, particularly of a Sunday. The route itself is lovely with lots of snowy picturesque Yorkshire hills and little villages on the way. A nice alternative to The Shuttle.

A Brief Stop At Keighley Bus Station

Arriving in Keighley, I ventured around the Bus Station which was a typical Metro branded bus interchange with branding from Transdev throughout. I particularly liked that the toilets here were free and also there was background music playing from the public address system – making the visit welcoming.

Off To Leeds on Aireline

After a quick visit to Keighley, it was time for a trip to Leeds on the Aireline number 60. A modern, branded, Optare Versa is working this service. I liked the skylights, wireless charging and USB points. The next stop announcements and green down-lighting on the seats are great features too.

The Aireline 60 service takes just under two hours from Keighley to Leeds, serving Bingley, Saltaire, Shipley, Greengates, Calverley, Rodley and Kirkstall along the way.

I managed to take advantage of the wireless charging points which are situated over the rear wheel arch. I did a little test to see how much it charged my Samsung S7 phone, which was on 64% at the beginning of the test. I liked how these seats also have USB charging points too, catering for non-wireless devices.

Final thoughts… A pleasant urban journey. Couldn’t quite hear the next stop announcements at the rear and some USB ports weren’t working. That didn’t detract from the overall high quality of vehicle and service though. For the wireless charging test; my phone made it to 89% charged, so I’d imagine it’d get at least 60-70% charge throughout the entire duration of the journey if my phone was powered off.

Leeds to Ilkley

I decided I’d take a run out to Ilkley on First West Yorkshire’s X84 – the Wharfdale Connection. It made a nice break from the two trips I made with Transdev, but of course, the specification wasn’t quite on par. A smartly presented and branded Alexander Dennis Enviro400 took me on the 1 hour journey passing through Headingley, Bramhope, Otley and Burley-in-Wharfedale.

Final thoughts… It was a pleasant interurban route and the double deck allocation was well suited to the number of passengers using the X84 service. It may benefit these vehicles to be retrofitted with USB charging points in the future.

Back To Keighley

After a nice journey from Leeds, I took an hour out of my schedule to explore Ilkley before taking The Keighley Bus Company 62 service to the Civil Parish of Silsden where I broke my journey to stop off for a pint of beer. Refreshments consumed, it was just another 10-minute bus journey back to Keighley.

Final thoughts… Both of these journeys were operated by Wrightbus Eclipse Urban bodied Volvo B7RLE saloons, however, these were a little underwhelming considering my earlier journeys on Transedv’s Aireline and First’s Whafedale Connection. That said, they were lovely and warm though.

The Shuttle to Bradford

After Keighley, I then took The Shuttle 662 back to Bradford. While on the subject of The Shuttle, I dug out this picture of The Shuttle in Bradford back in 2009. Quite different from today’s blue livery.

Leeds Rendezvous

Upon my return to Bradford after taking The Shuttle, I then decided to take the X11 service to Pudsey Bus Station. This was only a short journey of around half an hour and was operated by a Wrightbus Eclipse 2 bodied Volvo B7RLE. It was a pleasant vehicle save for the hideous from First branding plastered on the coving panels throughout the entire bus.

Arriving in Pudsey, the bus station here was mainly open plan with a small waiting room in the middle and a canopy above. At least there was live bus times displayed prominently throughout. There was a lack of toilets however I’m sure there are plenty nearby for those who require them.

I didn’t stay at Pudsey Bus Station long as it was freezing! Instead, I decided to take the First West Yorkshire 4 towards Seacroft Bus Station, however, I only took this to Leeds as it was my final destination before getting the train home. A Pulse branded Wright Eclipse Gemini bodied Volvo B9TL worked this journey and there was certainly no creature comforts other than contactless payment.

Final thoughts… Well it certainly was an interesting trip, if at all a bit random and without structure. That said, I had an enjoyable time. My favourite journey actually has to be the 67 service from Bradford to Keighley, not for the vehicle but more for the varied route. The Optare Versa on the 60 was quite nice and the Enviro400 on the X84 too.

In contrast, the worst journey I had was the 4 from Pudsey to Leeds, it was just an average bus, certainly nothing to entice me as a would-be passenger. It had the convenience of paying by contactless but no WiFi or charging points. The moquette was terribly faded too. The FTR legacy hasn’t continued here.

Tom Harrison
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