By Katie Haseldine
Commuters on a new ‘talking’ bus service in West Yorkshire are confused over the choice of accent which describes the route.
The Keighley to Leeds bus service has had a voiceover installed which announces the next stops along the way.
However, users of the 60 service are annoyed as the providers chose to use a South Yorkshire accent to speak the voice over, rather than a West Yorkshire one – where the bus travels through.
One regular passenger, Wendy Gawtry, said: “The person that came up with the idea of a Barnsley accent needs sacking.
“The bus travels through towns in West Yorkshire, so why use a Barnsley accent?”
Although passengers admit the overall service has improved, they still cannot understand why the decision was made to use an accent which does not represent the locals of the area.
Wendy said: “The buses themselves are a great improvement from the previous service, but something has to be done about the vocals.
“The accent is so strong I can’t understand what is being said.”
The bus route travels via Bingley, Saltaire, Shipley, Greengates, Calverley, Rodley and Kirkstall.
As well as the vocal installation, the new buses have now got free wi-fi and USB sockets for charging mobile phones and other electronic devices.
Katie Hall uses the service regularly to get into Leeds, and used the bus the first time the voiceover was introduced.
She said: “It’s useful to have an audio announcement of the bus stops as it’s easier to know where to get off, but I do worry that the accent is too strong to understand at times – especially for tourists.
“If I got the bus every day, I’d definitely have my earphones on loud enough to ignore it.
“It became a real talking point on the bus. Passengers were turning around and chatting to each other about it – which made a nice change.”
She agreed that the charging stations were a “positive” addition to the buses, and commented that “the bus drivers are much friendlier than those on the usual First Bus commute.”
Yorkshire Voice contacted Aireline for comment, but the company had not responded at the time of publication.
However, in a statement on its website, Aireline proudly described its decision to use the voice of Eric Scaife of the Yorkshire Dialect Society, saying he is a “proper Yorkshireman – bringing that little touch of the White Rose County to your journey.”