Sunday 5 February 2012

The ftr is Uncertain

York, Leeds, Swansea? What next?

Route One is a weekly on-line magazine (read here), mainly aimed at the engineering and vehicles side of bus and coach operation. The mag is clearly supported financially by the plethora of adverts for new and second-hand vehicles. So, if you fancy starting a bus service, this is a good pace to look for your first purchase!

The edition for Friday 3rd February headlines First's stunning (?) new livery ...
... no, not that stunning new livery, but the slightly less monochrome effort.

The magazine (web-a-zine?) also outlines First's Fearnley-led futuristic forecasts for the company's next few years.
fbb is certain that his own personal Christian Journey for Life offers a better deal even than First's, but noble and pseudo-spiritual sentiments have to be a feature of corporate mission statements, these days; even if they are somewhat vapid!

But elsewhere in Route One, another change in the ftr of bus services is heralded ...
... not another First network abandonment, but the end of the Wright Streetcar "ftr" service between Acomb and York University.  In a company statement, Dave Alexander,
boss of First's Sheffield, Leeds, York and Manchester operations, says:-

Following a comprehensive review of passenger growth prospects, First has identified an opportunity to launch the ftr elsewhere in its Northern Region. As a result the ftr vehicles will be withdrawn from York for a full refurbishment programme ahead of being introduced into service elsewhere.

So it's nothing to do with the fact that it never really worked, and York City didn't like it after all, and many of the promised bus priority measures never materialised? Nothing to do with that at all! And nothing to do with the fact that it was expensive to run with on-board ticketing staff?

The 30 "customer care assistants" [they used to be called "conductors" when fbb were nobbut a lad] are to lose their jobs. Low floor double deck buses will replace the ftr vehicles.

This move should come as no surprise to readers of this blog. The chubby one was decidedly underwhelmed by his first First trip on ftr York and the "whelming" continued to be very much "under" on subsequent visits. See "The ftr's Bright, the ftr's Purple [1]" (read again) and  "The ftr's Bright, the ftr's Purple [2]" (read again).
York's ftr dies; what about Leeds ftr, also part of First's Northern Region? Will ftr fade finally there as well? And Swansea? No comment yet, but ...

And where will they be re-deployed? Again, no specific announcement as yet; but presumably on a high profile frequent urban route somewhere, hopefully with wide ftr-favourable roads and good bus priorities. Blog readers are invited to speculate.

Lets hope they get a distinctive livery; perhaps a change from purple?
Perhaps not!

And, talking of  First's livery, fbb wonders what delights they will display to deliver their dynamic transport contract for the Olympics. We can't wait!

A final flippant thought; will "customer care assitants" give five rings for a full Olympic bus? [Groan]

 Next Blog : due Monday February 6th 


  1. Heard from a manager this morning, the 12 ftr's from York are going to Newcastle

  2. they are currently in leeds with york branding, despite the leeds ftr's having no branding due to the recent route change. i live in pudsey and the number 4 is essentially the only way to get to leeds in under an hour. personally i'd like to see the ftr's in somewhere small(ish) because they never work(ed) in leeds, hardly worked in york so obviously size of the city is a big factor. mabye this bus is better suited for say airports and/or park and rides? after all ive heard a few have been deployed for use in luton, whether theyre still there i do not know, but thats where they would work best in my opinion.

  3. It is a shame the FTR left York. I kind of miss them. I think a new colour for them would be cool, a change from purple and blue. Red- like the London Buses or green and creamy colours, like the old 1930/40s buses used to be.