Updated: YORK’S controversial ftr superbuses are set to be replaced by a fleet of double deckers by Easter.

Bus operator First said that, following a comprehensive review of passenger growth prospects, it had “identified an opportunity” to launch the ftr elsewhere in its northern region following a refurbishment – although it declined to say where it was going.

A spokesman said the ftr’s number 4 Acomb to University of York route would now see the introduction of a modern fleet of easily accessible double-decker buses, with lower carbon emissions than the ftr. He stressed that the current, frequent service would continue, without any timetable changes.

While the ftr decision had been a commercial one, First had been “mindful of the aspirations of York’s council leaders” to remove the vehicles from York.

Labour said in its election manifesto last May that it wanted to get rid of the ftrs, which it branded a “costly disaster.”

Coun Dave Merrett, the council’s cabinet member for city strategy, told The Press last month that discussions had been held about finding an “acceptable replacement.”

Dave Alexander, regional managing director for First in the north of england, subsequently complained that Coun Merrett had revealed “private” discussions. Mr Alexander said First had been evaluating opportunities to utilise the ftrs elsewhere in the region and was confident it would stimulate new public transport journeys on a route currently being developed outside of York.

“The ftr has been an innovative public transport concept and has been successful at generating growth since its introduction five years ago,” he said.

“Its launch coincided with many infrastructure changes in York, the benefits of which will be felt by bus passengers for years to come.”

Asked to comment on rumours that the scrapping of the ftr could cost as many as 30 customer service jobs, a First spokesman said: “We are currently in discussions with staff and the trade union on what this will mean for those affected by the changes.”

Coun Merrett welcomed the announcement, and said he looked forward to hearing First’s detailed proposals for its replacement, which would be “more suitable for and less damaging to York’s roads.”

York Press: The Press - Comment

Double delight?

YORK’S controversial ftr buses will soon be no more. They are to be replaced by double-deckers.

Many people complained the bendy buses were too big for York. Others, however, pointed out how comfortable they were.

Once they are gone there will no doubt be a chorus of lament from those who want them back. But a modern fleet of low-carbon, accessible double-deckers sounds just the thing to us.

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