Harrogate to continue free electric bus service

Residents in the North Yorkshire town of Harrogate will be able to ride on the town’s electric buses for free on Sundays, thanks to sponsorship from Harrogate Spring Water.

In March, Harrogate Bus Company launched the ‘Sunday Freeway’ trial which saw customers travelling on four routes receiving free rides. The company says it’s been a success and has helped increase passenger numbers by 70%.

It follows a previous sponsorship agreement with The Spirit of Harrogate who makes Slingsby Gin.

The partnership between the bus company and Harrogate Spring Water has also helped to fund winter Sunday buses between Harrogate and the rural town of Pateley Bridge since 2017.

They are believed to be the first bus company in the country to use sponsorship to subsidise bus routes.

The Harrogate Bus Company’s CEO Alex Hornby said: ‘I’m delighted that we will be able to continue with our ‘Sunday Freeway’ free journeys on our amazing Harrogate Electrics buses, thanks to this exciting new package of initiatives and generous sponsorship from our friends at Harrogate Water.

‘The continued support for winter Sunday buses on our service 24 between Harrogate and Pateley Bridge is also excellent news for rural communities.

‘Our buses bring many visitors into the area, as well as providing an essential transport link for residents in Nidderdale, while helping to reduce congestion and to protect the environment.

The electric bus service runs on 2A, 2B, 3 and 6, which link Bilton, Dene Park, The Knox, Jennyfield and Pannal Ash with the town centre.

Last month, Rebecca Reeve-Burnett of Harrogate Bus Company owner Transdev wrote for AirQualityNews about why she believes free town centre parking discourages people from using the bus.

She called it a ‘divisive and damaging’ proposal.