Numbers of bus passengers in Sheffield went up by 5.3% in the last three months, reversing a near continuous decline over 30 years, according to the latest figures.
The rise for fare-paying passengers - without passes - was 14%.
Improvements in punctuality, reliability and a big fall in customer complaints are also being reported.
The turnaround, it is argued, is the result of the pioneering voluntary partnership between operators First, Stagecoach, First, Sheffield Community Transport, the council and South Yorkshire Passenger Transport Executive.
Discounted multi-operator tickets have seen some fares fall by 23%, newer buses have been introduced and there are fewer changes to routes and timetables.
David Young, interim deputy director general of SYPTE, said: “We have tried very hard to listen to customers.”