Labour administration pledges to withdraw controversial Ftr

The City of York Council’s new Labour-led administration, which siezed control of the council from the Liberal Democrats in the local elections earlier this month, has reaffirmed its commitment to introducing greater regulation over the city’s bus services. James Alexander, the new council leader, has also said that the new administration intends to scrap operation of the Ftr trambus on the route between Acomb and York University.

Alexander told the local press last week that he would soon be writing to FirstGroup to explain that the council will not be renewing the agreement.

First introduced the Ftr concept in York in 2006 under a five-year agreement with the local council that is due to end soon. Under this commitment the Aberdeen-based group pledged to operate the Ftr vehicle for a minimum of five years in return for infrastructure changes to local roads to help accommodate the vehicles.

However, outside of a Quality Contract or other regulatory powers, it is uncertain at present how Alexander could enforce the manifesto commitment to withdraw the vehicles from operation in the city.

Commenting on the news, Dave Alexander, the regional managing director for First’s bus operations in the north of England said: “We look forward to meeting with the new Labour controlled City of York Council
in the very near future to discuss the First bus network in York.”