Photos show: Visitors enjoying the Scalextric layout, plus Will Pearson (First Bus), Cllr Kim Groves (Middleton Park ward), Dean Stratton and Stephanie Hunter (White Rose) and Cllr Keith Wakefield (West Yorkshire Combined Authority)
The extended service will allow residents from Hunslet, Belle Isle, and Middleton easier access to shopping, entertainment, and employment at the centre via a frequent service.
In celebration of the new route, White Rose is hosting a giant Scalextric, and visitors are invited to race buses around a custom-built track from until Friday (17 February). The event can be found in the Central Atrium, and prizes will be on offer for the best ‘bus drivers’.
Stephanie Hunter, Travel Planning Co-Ordinator at White Rose Shopping Centre, said: “We’re absolutely delighted about the extension of the service 12 route. We’ve worked tirelessly to impress the importance of good access to White Rose for those in the South Leeds area, and this is a huge achievement for all involved.
“We’ve campaigned for this issue to be pushed to the top of the West Yorkshire Combined Authority’s agenda, and we’re thrilled to see so much positive feedback from the local community.”
Will Pearson, Business Manager at First Leeds adds: “We’re pleased to be working with White Rose Shopping Centre and West Yorkshire Combined Authority to extend the number 12 service to offer direct travel to this popular destination. The service will continue to operate via Middleton and through to Roundhay, but it will travel from White Rose – offering a frequent timetable of services throughout the day.”
Cllr Keith Wakefield, West Yorkshire Combined Authority Transport Chair said: “I am pleased that through teamwork between the City Council, the Combined Authority, First and the Centre Management, we have been able to make it easier for people in South Leeds to access jobs at White Rose and the surrounding businesses, as well as get there for local shopping trips.”
The new route comes as the White Rose leisure extension – comprising six new restaurants, an 11-screen IMAX Cineworld cinema, and a children’s play area – nears completion. The new food and beverage units are expected to be handed over to retailers in late March, with the cinema to follow in the autumn, providing hundreds of additional jobs at the centre.
As to why it has taken so long to make the change, South Leeds Life understands it to have been a combination of factors. White Rose has been asking First Bus to link them directly with Hunslet, Belle Isle and Middleton for many years. The current extension of the centre, including the new cinema, creates more demand and changes to the relationship between Leeds City Council and First allowed a fresh look to be taken.
The new route launches on Sunday 19 February. Full timetable details can be found at www.firstgroup.com/leeds