On a very sunny January day, your author took advantage with the new value journey ticket, the day tripper.
Transdev have advertised the day tripper ticket, for some time, November 22nd, enticing the idea of a full day's bus travel, on the buses. For today January 15th 2016, a trip on the newly extended 762 from Keighley via Ilkley and Otley, was my first journey on the new ticket. Keighley based 453, formerly of Yorkshire Coastliner, then to Harrogate for the short lived but popular X54, then the batch of saloons (450-454) were finally given shelter in Keighley. The bus is depicted above entering Harrogate bus station for the 11:35 journey back to Keighley, on a gloriously sunny day. 453 performed well as she glided along the A658 towards Pool in Wharfedale and then into the market town of Otley, were more passengers joined the service. Most of the passengers boarding at Otley really liked the 'warm bus, and 'the comfy seats', as they all settled down for the continuing journey.
Leaving Otley on a busy market day was easy, as 453 was put through a couple of tight situations, but the driver dealt with these easily. From Otley surrounded by the beautiful countryside, 453 was driven to Burley in Wharfedale and more passengers joined the service, with one comment of 'is this a new service, its a better bus then the other ones', this gent then wondered off into the village of Burley. Not long after rejoining the A65 towards the next area, the bus hit queuing traffic, which was slow but moving. Then a left turn into the small village of Ben Rhydding, along the road which led the bus towards the rear of the Bus/Rail Station in the town of Ilkley, just a few minutes of the pace, again the bus emptied at the stop but was quickly refilled with passengers. Soon back onto the A65, with a little traffic then a right turn into a small area called Low Mill, a neat countryside village, just off the main A65. Addingham was the next port of call, with a neat high street with plenty of shops and a few public houses, well worth a visit during the spring of this year. It was a tight squeeze along the high street, with parked cars and vans in all kinds of positions, without delay the driver pulled 453 through the lot, then a left turn into Silsden Road. 453 continued through Silsden, Steeton, Utley and finally into Keighley via a very packed North Street.
After a spot of lunch, it was time to board the next stage of the journey, the 662 'The Shuttle'. This particular service was given a long 'Blast-off' or 'Launch' as Transdev tied in the service with the grand opening of the Broadway the shopping centre in Bradford in early November 2015. I have tried the Shuttle vehicles before and found them pleasant to sit in and enjoy the Journey. Today your author took a trip aboard Endeavour or 1804 a Volvo B7RLE with Wrights Eclipse2 front end and bodywork, the batch of buses 1801-14 were given an extensive overhaul during 2015, in time for the new rebranded launch programme. Again like 453, 1804 was a very warn and pleasant vehicle to travel in, as the bus passed through Riddlesden, Crosshills and Bingley, before arriving at the historic village of Saltaire. A couple of photographs later and my next vehicle was arriving into Shipley Bus Station, for a trip on the 760 to Leeds. The bus in question was 2703, one of the sixteen new Plaxton president bodied Volvo B7TLs brought in 2001 for the complete refresh of the X43/44 services between Burnley and Manchester. Even though the bus was some fifteen years of age, 2703 still gave an excellent performance, even in heavy school time traffic and a couple of roadworks. As 2703 passed through Kirkstall in Leeds, the recent Boxing day floods were still very evident, even if the water was now back at a reasonable level. The clean up effort has worked very well, as the area looked clean with the roads showing little sign of damage.
In Leeds there was time to wonder around to look at the progress of the new look Victoria Gate shopping center, also the home of the largest John Lewis outside of London. The building looks impressive, with some interesting styles across the whole build. Leeds was busy, as can be expected on a Friday night, shoppers, workers and social/leisure parties were in full swing. My penultimate trip was taken on 3611 one of the out going 'City Connect' 36 buses, which was delivered in march 2004 to join 3601, which had debuted in October 2003. In fact the class 3601-12 have service both Blazefield and Transdev very well, with a highlight of the complete refurbishment/Overhaul programme of 2010-12 to become the new 'City Connect' fleet, with an addition of a new 3613 and former Burnley 2765 (3614) into the mix. Again 3611 like the other buses used today was a very pleasant trip back into Harrogate, it was an easy departure from Leeds and the bus was soon back into Harrogate for a continuing trip to Ripon.
For my final trip it was aboard a 2B to Bilton on one of the eight Optare Versa saloons, new in 2012 replacing the Volvo B6BLE/Wrights saloons. The Versa's have settled into the new look 'Harrogate Connect' local journey group of routes, the 2A, 2B, 3 and 6s.
Just for £9 I had a very good day, managed a few photographs, enjoyed my bus journeys, which has seen a huge saving. As the days grow longer and the light improves, your author will venture to East Lancashire and Manchester to sample their services. Even as a group, just for £19 for five people you can not find a better deal on any transport network. Yes the buses might take longer, but if your out with friends its the best way to enjoy your day.
Here are my personal views on bus activity in my area and beyond