ftr buses

In York yesterday I was exposed to the new ftr bus system brought in on the University route by First Group. I don’t normally like to rant about things because constructive comments are always better, but in this particular case there really is nothing positive to say.

They have brought in a bendy bus system that can seat no more passengers than a normal single decker bus, wasting a lot of money needlessly. In doing this they have also raised the price of a single fare from £1.30 to £1.50 which you have to pay using a machine on board which doesn’t take notes and doesn’t give change. This means that they have to bring in a bus conductor to deal with people who do not have the right money and to check day tickets bought using the machine because said tickets cannot be checked with the machine. Factoring all of this in means that journey times take twice as long as they used to, in fact, so much longer that it is now quicker to walk from the station to the uni than it is to get a bus.

The net result of all of this is that they have spent a lot of money to go into the “ftr” but have made it more inconvenient for passengers and gone back 10 or so years by bringing back the bus conductor. Some people really need their heads testing, especially as the buses are soon to arrive in Leeds. I told a couple of students here and it looks as though panic is soon to set in.


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  1. Chris Worfolk Said,

    June 8, 2006 @ 12:45 am

    Should be a lot of fun to get them in Leeds. If they can arrive in September when I no longer have to get buses and disappear by the time I need to use buses again that would be great.

  2. scott Said,

    July 20, 2006 @ 12:58 am

    after reading the comments above i feel the need to leave my own. i work for first as a driver and this is a step forward in bus travel!!!. All it takes is for all the passengers to have the correct change and it will run smooth. In a lot of the uk bus companies run that kind of ticket system and it works for them so just get used to it because it makes my job easier. FTR will be in leeds from the start of october and they are getting 18 of them to run service on the number 4. THEY ARE HERE TO STAY!!!!

  3. Kieran Said,

    July 21, 2006 @ 8:42 am

    While I appreciate that in an ideal world it would make your job easier, we live in a far from ideal world. Quite simply people don’t always have the right change, its the way currency works. You might think that obtaining change is easy, but look around you – how do you get the exact change for anything? The only way to get change is to buy something from a shop that gives change, and then usually you will have to buy something you don’t want or end up spending too much/little on said item so you still do not have the correct change. If people do have the correct change its normally by pure chance.

    I always respected that bus drivers couldn’t change notes, but £2 for a £1.50 fare? Surely thats not hard or unreasonable, even from a machine. Why only the other day I bought a can of drink for 50p from a machine with a £1 coin, that didn’t seem to have any issues giving me 50p change.

    The ftr is a novel idea but one that now it has been tried has recieved wide-spread criticism from the people who use the no. 4 route. In my time in York on my visit my friends from spoke of no longer getting buses due to increased time delays at stops and such-like. A simple business analysis states that if people stop taking buses then the numbers of buses will have to be cut. I have already heard that some traditional buses have made a comeback on the no. 4 route due to issues. If the number of buses have to be cut then so do the number of drivers or the frequency they drive, and thus their pay. If for one minute you think that the company you work for cares any more about its employees than it does of its customers then think again.

    As for the Leeds launch date, thanks for letting me know. It means I can get a good campaign together in the student community about how useless they are and get a boycott in place before they even arrive.

    For more concrete references to York students prefering the old system rather than just comments from my friends, please see an article in a York student newspaper. Further comment from another student in York on a similar vein to my posting can be found in the paper here.

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