BUS wars on the flagship York to Leeds route are coming to an end after First decided to scrap a service which it only launched last year.

Richard Harris, commercial director for First in York, said it had registered its intention to withdraw the X64 service with effect from the end of August.

First pitched into a direct battle for custom with long-standing operator Yorkshire Coastliner last summer when it announced it would run buses directly from city centre to city centre.

The company said then it felt there were more than enough passengers to complement existing bus services and the half-hourly service, for which a return adult ticket would cost £6, would pick up passengers from Stonebow and York Station.

Coastliner then announced it was doubling the number of its buses between York and Leeds to four services an hour in each direction, in a move leading to the creation of 14 new drivers’ jobs in York.

A spokesman said Coastliner had been planning the expansion in its service for some time, and the only people it was thinking about was its loyal passengers.

Today Mr Harris insisted First had been satisfied with passenger numbers since the X64 service started, and indicated it might return when the recession was over.

“We have been pleased with the growth in passengers on this service since we started it last year,” he said.

“However, with the current economic background, this growth has been insufficient for us to carry on running this service at the present time.

“Once the current economic situation improves, we will look to review this decision and may be in a position to run a similar service between Leeds and York at a future date.”