YORK’S controversial ftr buses have been taken off the streets, ending their six-year run in the city.
First York said in January that it had identified “an opportunity” to launch the ftr elsewhere and to replace them with the double-deckers in York.
Although the decision lay with the company, a spokesman said earlier in the year that the firm was “mindful” of the fact that the city council’s ruling Labour administration wanted them axed. In their 2011 council election manifesto, Labour called the buses a “costly disaster”.
The company said the new double-deckers would have lower carbon emissions and said the service would continue with no timetable changes, but the Unite union has voiced fears that the 29 people employed as conductors on the ftrs could be made redundant.
The ftrs were launched in York in May 2006 but were beset by controversy, with a storm of early complaints over the ticketing machines and the amount of money spent on roadworks to accommodate the larger buses at bus-stops and tight corners.
Tempers also flared between First and the council late last year, when the council’s cabinet member for transport issues, Dave Merrett, told The Press that talks had been held about finding an acceptable replacement, and First boss Dave Alexander accused him of revealing “private” discussions.
Both First and the city council declined to comment yesterday, but Mr Alexander said in January that the ftr had been an innovative concept and that the infrastructure changes would benefit bus passengers for years to come.
Passengers yesterday gave a mixed response to news of the ftrs’ removal.
Paul Hepworth, 63, said: “It was a bold experiment and it’s sad it had to end. I think people with buggies and restricted mobility could come to regret the loss of them.”
Sarah Smith, 20, said: “It doesn’t really bother me because there will still be a bus. It still gets me there no matter what it looks like.”
Shaun Nelson, 41, said: “I thought the ftr buses were okay but double deckers are just as good you assume, and probably just as easy to drive.”