The renovation of Leeds Dock in the centre of Leeds has helped reinvigorate the area. For many of those who now live and work in the area, the presence of two free water taxis is a major attraction. This fine service is provided by two boats, Twee and Drie, which travel between the nearby Granary Dock and Leeds Dock every 20 minutes. They are a welcome addition to the landscape of Leeds Dock, and provide commuters, residents and tourists with an alternative way of getting round the area, connecting it to the rest of the city.
Leeds Dock was previously known as Clarence Dock. It was constructed so that boats using the Leeds & Liverpool Canal and the Aire & Calder Navigation – the two waterways are separated by an island – could bring goods into the centre of Leeds. Boats would travel from the collieries of Yorkshire to the mills and factories that clustered along the waterside. Once a thriving hub of the city, it gradually fell into disrepair so that by the 1990s many of the Victorian dockside buildings were derelict. The area’s renewal started with the arrival of the Royal Armouries Museum in 1996. This museum houses the national collection of arms and armours and occupies a new building on the bank of the Aire.
The dock still struggled to draw sufficient footfall until 2013 when Clarence Dock was renamed Leeds Dock and reimagined as a tech and creative hub for Leeds. The area around the dock now includes a variety of offices for major employers such as Sky and Yorkshire Water, as well as hotels, conference centres and several restaurants, bars and retail outlets. This has bought real energy to the area. There is also a regular programme of cultural events on the site. Part of the offering is the free taxi service that allows visitors to get across the site with ease. These boats were brought over from Holland and now take passengers on a pleasant 12-minute journey from Granary Wharf to Leeds Dock, connecting two of the city’s most popular waterside locations.