West Yorkshire commuters are set to benefit from a major new project including internet on buses after transport operators and local authorities agreed to plough £74,000 into a bus route connecting Bradford and Leeds.

First, the region’s principal bus operator, is working in partnership with West Yorkshire ITA (WYITA), Metro, Leeds City Council and Bradford Council, to establish the first phase of a rapid-transit-style service between Leeds and Bradford, Service 72, which will start in October.

First will put in the vehicles while the WYITA are upgrading their infrastructure to cope with the service, operating every seven minutes from Monday to Saturday.

A WYITA meeting yesterday saw the £74,000 earmarked from Metro’s Local Transport Plan.

First Group has recently withdrawn its fleet of articulated streetcar buses from service in York which will now be used for the 72 Service.

The Leeds-Bradford route is listed in the Leeds City Region Transport Strategy as one of the most important corridors and over the last 18 months the frequency of the service has increased from three buses per hour to eight.

Dave Alexander, regional managing director for First in the North of England, said: “This is an exciting strategically important project that will bring significant economic and social benefits to Leeds and Bradford.

“We look forward to strengthening the agreement between First, WYITA, Metro, Leeds and Bradford Councils to help us achieve our joint aim of achieving passenger growth leading to a more sustainable transport system in West Yorkshire.”

Bus customers on Service 4, Pudsey-Leeds-Seacroft will also benefit as part of the project. The opportunity will be taken to extend the service in Pudsey to Thornbury Barracks and Highfield Green, following requests from residents, using modern low-floor double deck vehicles.

“This will be a significant investment in vehicles and infrastructure by Metro and First,” Metro chairman Coun James Lewis said. “As well as the refurbished buses, many shelters and bus stops along the route in Armley, Stanningley, Thornbury and Bradford Moor will be updated and given raised kerbing to allow level boarding for customers.

“This important development on the corridor between Leeds and Bradford and the improved service will help reduce congestion by offering commuters an attractive alternative to the car.”