Thursday, 31 May 2012

Inspecting the Spectre

Moving the Ghoulposts in York
This picture, captioned "an ftr" (should that be "a" ftr?), is a reminder of the much maligned bus service that was to be the "ftr" of passenger travel in York. 
But it wasn't.

So come with fbb on a Ghost Tour of York ...
... or ride the Sightseeing Bus ...
... as we seek the shadowy remains of a once heralded step into the ftr of bus travel. Back in March the articulated Wright streetcars were withdrawn from route 4 and replaced with conventional double deck vehicles. Although spectacularly "trendy", they had never been popular with the public or with the City authorities. Route 4 ran down narrow estate roads with little opportunity to deliver the quality atmosphere that First's publicity suggested.
So, in York at least, ftr is dead and buried; but whoever looks after stops doesn't seem to have grasped the purple monsters' demise as the ghostly remains are evident throughout the city, as here at the station ...
... in fact almost everywhere!
Maybe the York city fathers can't afford to buy some purple sticky-backed plastic and hide the historic logo, but you would expect new timetables to be posted, wouldn't you?
This one was at Acomb Methodist Church, and below it was another ftr timetable with a different and later date; but still resolutely showing the ftr logo and equally out of date! To be fair to First, the timetable hasn't changed a great deal, but ...
... the use of the now expunged logo hardly inspires confidence. Perhaps information display at stops can also be blamed on York city? But you would hope that a bus operator had a passing interest in knowing that its own information was up-to-date.

And we can be certain that all is hunky and dory on First's own web site, can't we?
No we can't. There it is again, to the right of the purple band; the dreaded ghostly remains of ftr York fearlessly featuring in First's "future". Whereas in Leeds the ftr name (there written FTR) retains its shadowy presence over the ftr fleet's current operation. And the purple monsters still run.
But First's dedicated ftr web site seems to have disappeared into the ether. Clicking on links to "ftr" pages now simply redirects the user to, for example, the main First West Yorkshire site. So the "eminence pourpre" may be fading away there as well as disappearing in York.

But one bright spot is provided by York City's bus map. The most recent edition (October 2011) simply refers to route 4; prophetically propelling the purple poltergeists into their present purdah.
On the map, at least, the ftr never had a future.

Dave Alexander, big cheese of First Bus in almost everywhere in "The North" ...
... has hinted at re-deployment of the ftr fleet "elsewhere". It certainly won't be in London, where purple monsters repainted red night have been as "up-front" as the equally unusual "borismaster"; we will have to wait until First's publicity panjandrum produces some positive pointers.

In the meantime the ghosts of ftr still add that touch of transport mystery to the streets of York.

 Next blog : Friday 1st June 

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