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First Leeds is one of the bus companies serving the area of West Yorkshire, England. It forms part of FirstGroup, a company operating transport services in the British Isles and in North America. The company operates within the area covered by Metro, a public body responsible for helping to co-ordinate public transport services in the West Yorkshire area.

First Leeds
Ftr bus in New Market Street, Leeds city centre, 19012 (YJ06 XLR), 7 August 2010.jpg
A First Leeds ftr bus (left) and a Wright Eclipse Gemini (right) on Vicar Lane in August 2010
Founded1995, formerly Yorkshire Rider
HeadquartersSouth Accommodation Road, Leeds
Service areaLeeds, Otley, Ilkley, Skipton, Wetherby
Service typeBus services


Numerous First Leeds buses on The Headrow.
A First Leeds depot on Kirkstall Road.

Following bus deregulation in 1986, the MetroBus (the West Yorkshire PTE) fleet was renamed Yorkshire Rider Ltd. In October 1988 Yorkshire Rider was bought by its management for £23 million.

Yorkshire Rider was then bought by Badgerline, a Bristol-based bus company, in 1994. Following the merger of Badgerline with GRT Ltd to form First Bus in 1995, its services were rebranded:

  • Leeds City Link – covering the Leeds area with depots in Hunslet and Bramley
  • Calderline – covering Halifax and Calderdale with garages in Halifax and Todmorden
  • Kingfisher Huddersfield – covering Kirklees with garages at Old Field House Lane
  • Bradford Traveller – covering Bradford with a depot at Bowling Back Lane

These names were later replaced with First Leeds, First Calderline, First Huddersfield and First Bradford.

Until recently, First Quickstep, was also part of the First group. It was based at the same Kirkstall Road depot as First Leeds but was a separate organization. It is now a part of First Leeds and it runs the FreeCityBus service.

In July 2005 the company took over Morley-based Black Prince Buses, a large independent company. The Morley depot was closed down and the fleet was sold, with the exception of a couple of single-deckers and the large fleet of Scania N113 double-deckers.

On 18 May 2008 the Kirkstall Road depot was closed after 111 years of public transport use and operations moved to a new complex in Hunslet.[1] The site was planned to be redeveloped in 2008 as part of Leeds City Council's Kirkstall Road Renaissance Area project.[2]


First Leeds buses at Wetherby bus station.
An older First Leeds bus on service in Armley, 2009

The company has a large fleet which includes Wright Eclipse Gemini, Solar and articulated buses (Volvo B10LA), and Dennis Darts with Alexander Dash (new in 1995) and Plaxton Pointer (1996) bodies.

Other buses include a batch of Volvo B7TL's with Alexander ALX400 boywork new in 2000-2 and a batch of Volvo Olympians with Alexander Royale bodywork new in 1997/8. Even older double deckers include Leyland Olympians with Roe and Optare bodywork (Optares being new in 1985-7, built to a Roe design) bought in 1982-7 (of which a lot were withdrawn in 2006). They also have a batch of Scania N113's, some new mainly with Alexander bodywork plus one with Northern Counties Palatine in 1990/1, some Alexanders from Black Prince (new in 1989–91) and some long-wheelbase East Lancs E-type bodied examples new to Hull in 1989. Most of the Scania double-deckers have been withdrawn or transferred within the Group, replaced by 30 new Wright Eclipse Geminis on Volvo B9TL chassis. In 2012 First Leeds gained 98 Olympic Shuttle Volvo B9TL Wright Gemini 2's from London...

They also had Alexander Strider bodied Scania N113's new in 1993/4, of which many have been replaced by new Volvo Eclipse Gemini B9TL's. Low floor single deckers are mainly Wright bodied Scanias bought in 1998-9: early ones are L113 and later ones the L94UB. The newest single deckers are Volvo B7RLE/Wright Eclipse Urbans new in spring 2009.

For many years the company operated a fleet of Leyland Atlanteans. The last Atlanteans were withdrawn in May 2004.


First Leeds operates services mainly in the Leeds area, including Hunslet, Kirkstall, Morley, Pudsey and Seacroft and also run services into Bradford, Ilkley, Otley , Wetherby and Skipton. These services are operated from two depots in Leeds, which are based in Bramley and at its headquarters at Hunslet. In addition to this, there are several First services that operate in the Leeds area, which are run from Bradford and Halifax depots.

Most First Leeds services use the City Centre bus box rather than Leeds City bus station which is mostly used by other operators; First Leeds however is the primary operator at Otley, Pudsey, Seacroft and Wetherby bus stations. First Leeds also operate services from three park and ride sites at Elland Road, King Lane and Temple Green. [3]

List of routesEdit

This is a summary of First Leeds services:[4]


The Brown Line in Overground branding in 2010. The articulated buses have since been phased out.

In the last few years, First has introduced the 'Overground' brand on services that are frequent during the daytime. Based on the London Underground, where each frequent line has a recognisable colour, each Overground service has its own colour. The concept is now a prominent fixture throughout all First bus companies in the UK.

In December 2007, First changed some of its Overground route colours. Route 2 changed from yellow to red, combining with routes 3 and 3A, while route 12 changed from green to blue, combining with routes 13 and 13A. The decision was made by First Leeds because they believed it would "make it simpler to identify where the buses go".[5] In 2009, the routes 33 and 33A changed from the Light Green Line to the Green Line. In 2010, route 5 became the Yellow Line, while in 2011, a new Overground was introduced with the 14 adopting the Beige Line between Pudsey and Halton Moor only for its fate to be withdrawn in 2012. In October 2012 First Leeds route 4 re-adopted its pre-ftr colour by once again becoming the Olive Line.


56 at Whinmoor in the Pulse livery seen in 2017.

First started removing its overground branding in 2015, and it was replaced by Pulse, its slogan is buses so frequent, you can turn up and go. The branding is Bright Pink and covers the top area of the upper deck windscreen and roughly a third of the upper deck side windows. The branding was applied to most of the following buses, Volvo B9TL Wright Gemini 2, Volvo B7TL Wright Gemini, Volvo B9TL Wright Gemini and all ADL E400. No single deckers got the branding. [6][7] Although the line colours have been dropped from the buses and they are no longer mentioned in literature, the route maps still colour these services in their former colours.[8]

Night busesEdit

First Leeds operated several night buses services, but the only one that remains is the N1 on Monday to Saturday nights, but only between Leeds City Centre and West Park primarily for students.


A First Leeds ftr bus in Pudsey in 2007

The scheme in York has faced many troubles like underpowering of the engine and ticket machine problems.

The ftr's were, until 2016 in use on route 72 under the new brand name "hyperlink" with 4's reverting to conventional bus operations. The 72 is now operated by Wright Streetdeck buses.The 72 service is now operated by first Bradford.

7 SeriesEdit

A First Leeds bus seen on the Headrow in 2018 in the new green livery

Some Wright Eclipse remained until more B5Ls arrived. These new vehicles were also placed on routes X98/X99. As of February 2015, Hybrids were removed from X98/X99 routes due to the use of the buses increasing journey times, they were replaced by other buses at the same depot.

See alsoEdit


  1. ^ "New £10million First Bus HQ in Leeds Will Help Tackle Road Congestion". First Group. Retrieved 28 May 2008.
  2. ^ "Kirkstall Road Renaissance Area – Planning Framework". Leeds City Council. Archived from the original on 4 July 2008. Retrieved 28 May 2008.
  3. ^ "Successful Opening of Temple Green Park and Ride". First Leeds. 26 June 2017. Retrieved 15 July 2017.
  4. ^ "Current Timetables – Leeds". First Group. Retrieved 31 October 2011.
  5. ^ "First To Know" (PDF). First Group. Retrieved 12 December 2007.
  6. ^
  7. ^ "First Leeds Network Map" (PDF). First Group. Retrieved 12 November 2011.
  8. ^ "Leeds Network Map" (PDF). First Group. Retrieved 15 July 2017.

External linksEdit