IMPROVEMENTS are being introduced to a popular service operated by Keighley Bus Company.

Passenger numbers on the Aireline route – which links Keighley, Saltaire and Shipley with Leeds – have continued to rise since the service was rebranded in 2017.

The final four months of last year saw a four per cent increase compared to 2018.

Now the company is implementing a package of upgrade measures.

Extra capacity has already been provided and it is planned to further up provision on the busiest journeys from later this year, with double-deck buses being brought in for usual single-deckers.

It is also proposed to upgrade all Aireline buses to further reduce emissions and meet latest clean-air standards.

In addition, Keighley Bus Company has been working with partner organisations to evaluate how major employers planning moves to Leeds will offer more opportunities to boost services.

Alan Isherwood, the company’s general manager, said: “We’re delighted to build on the amazing success of Aireline, which has really taken off since we introduced our Yorkshire-built buses filled with features suggested by those who know best – the people who travel with us every day.

“We’re also expecting a new layout at the junction of New Line and Harrogate Road in Greengates to help speed-up journey times, as our buses will no longer be held-up by turning traffic on the junction. Work to build the new junction may lead to some short-term delays this year, and to make sure the service is as resilient as possible we’ll run an extra bus on Aireline to help keep the service on time.”

News of the further improvements are welcomed by Councillor Kim Groves, chairman of both West Yorkshire Combined Authority and its Bus Alliance. She said: “The success of these services shows that putting passengers’ requirements at the heart of plans pays off and attracts new customers.”

And Councillor Alex Ross-Shaw, Bradford Council’s portfolio holder for regeneration, planning and transport, said: “It’s very encouraging to see the increasing number of people from Keighley and Shipley using the Aireline buses. Every bus journey helps to reduce carbon emissions and congestion on our roads.”

* Keighley Bus Company is currently operating a revised timetable to help key workers during the coronavirus crisis