An initiative that has delivered a major boost to Harrogate’s retail sector has celebrated its first birthday.

Thanks to the support of leading town businesses and Harrogate BID (Business Improvement District), Transdev has been able to run the Sunday Freeway, a free service to and from town on its fleet of electric buses.

In its first month the Harrogate Electric – 2A, 2B, 3 and 6, which link Bilton, Dene Park, The Knox, Jennyfield and Pannal Ash with the town centre – carried 70 per cent more people than it did in the same month the previous year.

Local businesses such as Slingsby and Harrogate Spring Water partnered with Transdev over the following months to keep the Sunday Freeway going.

As a result, the transport operator continued to see similar results to the 70 per cent lift achieved through the trial month throughout the year.

The BID supported the Sunday Freeway from October to December, giving a much-needed boost to town centre shops before Christmas. During this period Trandsev had its highest figures when, during November, it carried 90 per cent more people than it did during November 2018.

Transdev marketing manager Rebecca Burnett said: “We were delighted to partner with the BID again this February, and complete year one of the Sunday Freeway. We’re hoping to announce further partners for the months ahead too.

“To bring so many extra people into the town is amazing and shows what we can do when we all work together.”

Transdev general manager Frank Stanisauskis said: “It’s a truly amazing increase, with many choosing to leave their cars at home and use our zero emission buses instead. In 2019 over 40,000 people travelled with us on Sundays for free across the year.”

Andrea Thornborrow, manager of Harrogate’s Primark store, said: “Sunday Freeway has been a superb initiative and, thanks to Transdev and its sponsors, we have certainly seen footfall in our store increase on Sundays.

“I’m certainly hopeful it will continue because it is bringing real benefits not just to us, but to the whole the town centre in general, which can only be good news for the local economy.”

Bus Boost!

Pictured are Transdev general manager Frank Stanisauskis, left, and Bob Kennedy, BID board member and owner of G23 and Porters.