A £1 FLAT fare and extra services on Keighley's town bus network are proving to be just the ticket with passengers.

Usage numbers on the routes have soared since the initiative was introduced last September.

With £2.7 million of funding over three years secured from West Yorkshire Combined Authority, Keighley Bus Company launched more buses on some of its routes in and around the town, plus a new 60A service to increase weekday journeys between Shipley and Leeds.

And the new flat fare was implemented on services around Keighley, extending to Ingrow, Bracken Bank, Fell Lane, Laycock, Braithwaite, Utley, Airedale Hospital, Stockbridge and Thwaites Brow.

Latest figures show that on the K7 route between Keighley and Oakworth, where bus frequency increased from every 20 minutes to every 12, passenger numbers have risen by 23 per cent.

Services K2 and K3, between Keighley and Braithwaite, where frequency was upped from every 15 minutes to every ten, have seen a 21 per cent surge in usage.

Paul Turner, Keighley Bus Company’s commercial director, says: "We’re delighted to see that the significant improvements to our services – supported by the West Yorkshire mayor-led combined authority, through Bus Service Improvement Plan funding – are proving so popular, with more people switching to our buses.

"The success of the additional services and the £1 flat fare for local travel in Keighley is an excellent example of partnership working between bus operators, local transport authorities and the Government to make bus travel attractive for many more people."

Further improvements are planned by the company.

The frequency of its Aireline service between Keighley, Shipley and Leeds will be increased to every 20 minutes, from March 17.

Plus there will be extra buses on the route at peak times.

"Our Aireline customers can look forward to twice as many peak-time buses compared with the timetable that was in place before last September’s improvements," Mr Turner adds.

West Yorkshire mayor, Tracy Brabin, says: "Making bus travel more convenient, reliable and affordable is a key part of my vision for a better-connected region.

"Our funding has shown that investment into the network delivers results."

Councillor Alex Ross-Shaw, Bradford Council’s executive member for regeneration, planning and transport, says: "Improving the frequency of bus services has already proved a success. It’s great to see Keighley Bus Company take the initiative and build on this by increasing frequency at busiest times even further."