Before Elon Musk’s Hyperloop, there was Hyperlink – First’s attempt to create a rapid transit corridor between Leeds and Bradford. It’s day 72 on #AYearOfBuses.
Now sadly dead and buried, Hyperlink launched between Leeds and Bradford in 2012 and was seen as a bus rapid transit-based replacement for the cancelled Leeds Supertram project – and for accommodating First West Yorkshire’s vagrant fleet of Wright Streetcar (or ‘ftr‘) articulated buses.
Refurbished to the tune of £400,000 with free WiFi, leather seats, a bold new identity and a high profile marketing campaign, the ftr vehicles were pushed into service on route 72, one of First’s interurban routes connecting the neighbouring West Yorkshire cities of Bradford and Leeds. The Hyperlink project was supplemented with £74,000 worth of funding from local authorities to upgrade street infrastructure to accommodate the buses, with future phases of the project expected to consider the feasibility of other Hyperlink-inspired bus priority schemes in the region.
Ultimately, Hyperlink proved to be, well, a bit of a flop, if a useful BRT experiment. First’s ftr vehicles featured in our compilation of the craziest inventions from the UK bus industry – all of which are now in the process of being unceremoniously scrapped – whilst the 72 survives to this day, now running with a fleet of more conventional Wright Streetdeck double deckers.
Image credit: North West Transport Photos on Flickr.