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First confirms proposal to remove ftr from York


10:32am 30th January 2012

Statement from First:

FIRST, York’s principal bus company, has today confirmed that it is proposing to end the operation of its groundbreaking ftr bus rapid transit vehicles in York by Easter 2012.

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 As a result the ftr vehicles will be withdrawn from York for a full refurbishment programme ahead of being reintroduced into service elsewhere. Whilst this was a commercial decision taken by First, it is mindful of the aspirations of York’s council leaders to remove the ftr vehicles from York.

The proposal has only just been finalised following an extensive internal review. Owing to the sensitivity of these discussions, particularly with staff, First has been unable to confirm before now its future plans for ftr in York.

First will be discussing the changes with its key stakeholders in the community and has begun the process of consultation with all of its employees affected by the change.

The number 4 Acomb to University of York route, currently served by the ftr, is a key bus corridor within York. It will now see the introduction of a modern fleet of easily accessible double decker buses, which will also benefit the York Community because there will be a reduction in levels of carbon emissions when compared to the ftr. Passengers on that route can be assured that their frequent high quality bus service will continue without any timetable changes.

Dave Alexander, Regional Managing Director for First in the North of England, said:

“As part of our growth agenda we have been evaluating opportunities to utilise the ftr vehicles elsewhere in the region and are confident that ftr will stimulate new public transport journeys on a route currently being developed outside of York. The removal of the ftr vehicles from York allows us to facilitate the refurbishment of the ftr fleet within Yorkshire.

“The ftr has been an innovative public transport concept and has been successful at generating growth since its introduction five years ago. Its launch coincided with many infrastructure changes in York, the benefits of which will be felt by bus passengers for years to come.

“First is an important part of the York community that remains committed to delivering a frequent, high quality bus network within the City and surrounding areas. We will now introduce comfortable, modern double decker vehicles with lower carbon emissions. Also, and in partnership with City of York Council, we are continuing to evaluate a number of service developments, all of which are focussed on increasing bus patronage in York.”

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