Thursday 21 June 2012

The ftr is 72! Breaking News?

for those of our younger readers (?) who may have been mystified by the merry banter between Tuesday's** commentators ...
... Nigel Molesworth is the creation of Geoffrey Willans and Ronald Searle; he is a disfunctional pupil at St Custards, a somewhat seedy boarding school. Fotherington-Thomas is a "wet" and spends his time saying ("saing", NM's speling and grammer leev a lot to be desired) "hello sky, hello clouds".
The "compleet" (sic) Molesworth oeuvre is available through the usual channels ...
... and is highly recommended by fbb for boys of all ages. It's also available on Kindle (for Kindle? with Kindle? Who knows?) Somehow an electronic version of "Molesworth" seems a contradiction in terms.

** See comments on:- "Onward Travel : A Northampton Journey [5]" (read again)
Back to Blogging : the not very well kept secret is out.

First, it was a chum from Leeds who rang to say, "guess what...?"

Then this bus was pictured at Leeds Station ...
... which, on the surface, is not unusual as ftr 4 in Leeds is still operated by Wright Streetcars. But look more closely ....
... and you see that this Leeds ftr is a York ftr.

Then the "Omnibuses" website (and others) broke the story on-line.
The news that ftr vehicles from both York and Leeds are to be deployed on the interurban route between Leeds and Bradford was "officially" confirmed by a report in the Bradford "rag".
West Yorkshire commuters are set to benefit from a major new project including internet on buses after transport operators and local authorities agreed to plough £74,000 into a bus route connecting Bradford and Leeds.
First, the region’s principal bus operator, is working in partnership with West Yorkshire ITA (that's West Yorkshire PTE in a politically motivated new skin), Metro (that's the public face of the PTE), Leeds City Council and Bradford Council, to establish the first phase of a rapid-transit-style service between Leeds and Bradford, Service 72, which will start in October.
Actually the route has been running for years (1977 silver Jubilee bus above); it's the upgrade that will start in the autumn. But such subtlety is clearly beyond modern journalism. fbb is not entirely sure what the "second phase" will be.
Dave Alexander, regional managing director for First in the North of England, said: “This is an exciting strategically important project that will bring significant economic and social benefits to Leeds and Bradford. We look forward to strengthening the agreement between First, WYITA, Metro, Leeds and Bradford Councils to help us achieve our joint aim of achieving passenger growth leading to a more sustainable transport system in West Yorkshire ...
... and making oodles of money [fbb addendum]."

From the Great Britain Bus Timetable back in 1995, service 72, which follows the main road route between the two communities, ran every 30 minutes.
WYMetro says it is now "frequent" ...
... and First's own publicity confirms Monday to Saturday daytime frequency as ...
... every 8 minutes with smart vehicles carrying similar branding.
Impressive for an industry which is supposed to be in decline through the onslaught of the motor car. Mind you, having seen the price of parking in both central areas, fbb can understand the lure of the bus, which at £19.50 a week beings to look like a bargain.

Now here is the big question. After largely failing in York, being less than successful in Leeds and being removed from the evening and Sunday service in Swansea, what are the chances of success on the 72?
a 72 in typical scenery!

Some speculation due tomorrow ...

... and a 72 in West Yorkshire PTE green and ivory (?) ...
... about to enter the old Leeds bus station.

 Next Blog : Friday 22nd June 


  1. Metro is spending £74,000 to adapt bus stops so that passengers can think they're riding on a modern tram!

    I always thought Yorkshire folks were cannier with their hard-earned cash.

  2. 72 was the traditional number for the Bradford to Leeds service operated jointly by Bradford and Leeds city transport departments. It was first used in 1942 having previously been service 71. The oldest timetable I have in my posession is dated November 1952 to May 1953 and shows a service operating every 30 minutes in the mornings, then 20 minutes in the afternoons, before going through 12 mins and 15 mins over the evening peak and 20 mins to late evening. Of course between Bradford and Thornbury there was also trolleybus service 89 which ran at 3-5 minute intervals and the 90 service that ran beyond Thornbury to Stanningley which ran at 6-10 minute intervals. Just beyond Stanningley at Half Mile Lane was the terminus of the LCT service that duplicated the 72 all the way to Leeds. It was for the 72 that Bradford purchased some 7'6" Daimlers in 1950 (574-9)to give more room squeezing between trams and the kerb in Leeds, and it was for the 72 that Leeds purchased their only front entrance half cab double deckers (572-576) after Bradford introduced similar buses. In 1971 there was a service 272 running limited stop between the two cities using AEC Swifts. In WYPTE days the service was kept in the Leeds numbering sequence and retained 72. Bradford district numbers were 6xx. In fact the number 72 has been used for 70 years.
    Ken Traveline Dorset - but actually a native of Bradford and former 272 user to and from my CIT classes in Leeds.

  3. Thanks, Ken. Fascinating background. I suspected that 72 was an "old" number. Interestingly it remained as a "Leeds" number without a "hundreds" prefix, when the PTE introduced a county wide numbering scheme.