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Bus partnership celebrates first year of progress

Launch of the bus partnership at Jubilee Square in 2022

A PIONEERING partnership between local bus operators and Leicester City Council has already made 75 per cent of its planned improvements to services and routes within its first year.

The Leicester Bus Partnership was launched in May 2022 to bring together all local bus operators and the council, working and investing together under an agreed long-term plan.

It set out 100 key improvements to be made by 2025, focusing on making bus travel electric, reliable, frequent, easy and great value to use.

A year on from its launch, 75 of those pledges have been delivered, with the rest on track by summer 2024. 

The improvements already made include:

  • Award-winning contactless ticketing, giving travellers a capped best value fare for any combination of trips undertaken over a day or week – a UK first outside London
  • Six Greenlines routes with 24 brand new electric buses, including the recent free Hop! city centre circular
  • The brand-new eco-friendly St Margaret’s Bus and Coach Station
  • Over 600 real time displays and 450 new shelters at key bus stops
  • An optimised bus network with co-ordinated timetables and duplicated services removed
  • Discounted ticketing for unemployed people, Park and Ride users, eligible pupils and health workers
  • New bus lanes in the city centre, Groby Road, Melton Road and Abbey Park Road
  • A new website with ticketing and service information across all operators

Improvements due to be delivered over the next year include:

  • 86 electric buses over the Firstbus network, with most coming in from May to September this year
  • 24 electric buses on key Arriva routes
  • Significant bus priority on Abbey Lane, Anstey Lane and Bennion Road
  • More real-time information displays on key routes

By the end of the year, half of all Leicester’s bus travellers could be using electric buses along routes which have been significantly improved to make them far easier and better value to use.

Leicester deputy city mayor for transportation, climate emergency and clean air, Cllr Adam Clarke, said: “This is fantastic progress, and shows what can be gained by working together on a common goal to improve transport across the city and nearby areas.

“The partnership approach has enabled us to look at what changes would really benefit passengers, and to support the bus operators in making improvements as part of an overall plan for the city.

“It’s been a very positive process, as shown by the amount of work we’ve achieved already as a partnership. It has enabled us to work together on taking a big step forward in making Leicester’s public transport greener, more reliable and more easily accessible for all users.”

Chair of the Leicester Bus Partnership Forum, Dawn Badminton-Capps, added: “Despite the lack of Government funding, Leicester City Council Enhanced Partnership has achieved some excellent results in just its first year.

“The board and its partners will continue to build on this success and strive to deliver the best services possible for Leicester's buses.”

First’s Interim Managing Director for Midlands and South Yorkshire, Mike Watson, said: “It is a privilege for First to be involved in this pioneering partnership and it shows what can be achieved with a combination of exceptional civic leadership, highly-skilled officers and collaborative industry partners.”

More information is available on the Leicester Buses website here.