Leicester’s innovative Hop! bus service, a key component of the city’s Greenlines electric bus program, has quickly become a cornerstone of urban mobility, reflecting a shift towards more sustainable and efficient transportation methods. Launched in April 2023, this free-to-use shuttle service has exceeded expectations, with an average of over 1,500 passenger journeys per day. Its rapid adoption illustrates its effectiveness in meeting the city’s transport needs while addressing environmental concerns.
In just five months, Hop! recorded over 100,000 passenger journeys, underscoring its popularity and utility. The service operates three distinctively green buses, each seating 21 passengers and featuring a unique frog-like “ribbit” bell. These buses run on an anti-clockwise loop with 12 stops, from 8 am to 6 pm, Monday through Saturday. They are equipped with modern amenities such as Wi-Fi, USB charging, electronic information displays, and next-stop announcements, enhancing the passenger experience.
The project, part of an 18-month trial under the Leicester Buses Partnership, showcases collaborative efforts between local bus operators and Leicester City Council. This initiative aims to address the city’s transport and environmental responsibilities. Deputy City Mayor Cllr Adam Clarke lauded the service, highlighting its role in offering an accessible travel option around the city center.
Financially, the Hop! service represents a significant investment in sustainable transportation. Funded through the Department for Transport’s Transforming Cities Fund, the project saw the acquisition of three fully-accessible, zero-emission electric midi buses, costing around £1 million. This aligns with Leicester’s broader environmental goals, including transitioning the entire bus network to electric or zero-emission vehicles by 2030.
Centrebus operates the Hop! service, with the city council funding the scheme and its promotion, allocating about £325,000. To further refine and improve the service, a public survey was initiated, running from November 20 to December 31, inviting feedback from users and non-users alike. This survey is a step towards understanding user preferences and potential areas of improvement.
Leicester’s approach with the Hop! bus service is a model of urban transportation planning, balancing efficiency and environmental responsibility with public engagement. As the service continues to evolve, it stands as a testament to the city’s commitment to sustainable and accessible urban mobility solutions.