Nearly 9,000 passengers used Bradford’s new FreeCityBus in its first week of operation, it has been revealed.

Transport chiefs say the city centre shuttle service must attract at least ten passengers per trip to be considered a success – and with a first week average approaching 20 passengers per trip, the six-month trial of the service has got off to a flying start.

Traders in the city centre have welcomed the early success of the service.

The FreeCityBus was introduced by Metro and Bradford Council following the success of free shuttle services in Leeds, Huddersfield and Wakefield.

By way of comparison, the 8,721 people who used Bradford’s FreeCityBus last week was more than double the 3,600 passengers who used a similar service in its first week in Wakefield.

A Metro spokesman said: “With nearly 9,000 people using the Bradford FreeCityBus in its first week - at an average of between 18 and 20 passengers per trip - it had doubled the expectations. People in Bradford couldn’t wait for it to be launched The passenger numbers in the first week show people have said ‘hey, this is great’.”

The service connects key locations around the city, including both rail stations, main shopping areas, the National Media Museum and Library and the city’s student quarter.

Val Summerscales, of Bradford Chamber of Trade, said: “Bradford’s geographic makeup is such that sometimes people only go to the one area where they park or where they have been dropped off, so this bus gives people the opportunity to visit other parts of the city. It’s a welcome boost for traders.”

The buses run every ten minutes from 7am to 7pm, Monday to Friday and 8am to 5.30pm on Saturdays.