It looks like York's glamourous but unfeasably large ftr superbuses are on their way out.
News reports from the Northern city suggest the entire fleet will be replaced by double deckers by Easter.
First, who operate the articulated giants, said that they'd carried out a comprehensive review of passenger growth prospects and had “identified an opportunity” to launch the ftr elsewhere in its northern region following a refurbishment – although they failed to indicate where.
The ftr number 4 service from Acomb to the University would be replaced by easy access double-decker buses, with lower carbon emissions than the ftr, and the current frequent service would continue without any timetable changes.
Local press report that while the decision to withdraw the ftr had been a commercial one, First had been “mindful of the aspirations of York’s council leaders” to remove the vehicles from York.
Well, they could hardly not be. Even before Labour took control last year, their election manifesto made it clear that the party wanted to get rid of the ftr's completely. I blogged last month about the heat that was being generated over the City Council's intention to rid their medieval streets of the ftr and First's apparently equal determination not to let them.
However, something had to give. First say they are now going to utilise the opportunities that the ftr offers elsewhere in the region, and are confident, they say, of stimulating new public transport journeys on a route 'currently being developed outside of York'.
Ourtside of York? Well, yes. Mind, there's no news yet on just how far outside of York this new route may be. Thirty miles? Three hundred miles? Three miles..?
Perhaps York hasn't quite seen the last of the ftr after all....