The new FTR buses that have come in to serve the No. 4 route through the University have come under fire just two weeks after its arrival onto the streets of York.
The multi-million pound venture by the First Bus Company has been the subject of various teething problems, including technical problems and complaints by York residents. Rachel Lacy, a resident on Heslington Road, complained after being trapped by a door suddenly closing. “I was waiting to get off the back of the bus, while other people were getting off at the front.
“But when I stepped through the doors, it shut on me and trapped my shoulders inside with quite strong pressure, before opening again.”
First Bus Company were also forced to drop fares for a weekend after passengers strugged to cope with the malfunctioning ticket machines, which are specially designed to not give change in an attempt to speed up the boarding process.
Two buses were also taken off the road on the first day due to malfunctioning problems.
The debacle has even attracted the attention of the national press. Andrew Clark, writing in The Guardian, described the FTR buses as “purple people-eaters” and pointed that despite being twice the size, the FTR buses only carry one more passenger than their predecessors despite being twice the length.
Students have been similarly bemused by the vehicles. Sam Williams, a 2nd year student from Langwith, said “I can’t really see the point of them unless the old buses were due for replacement.
“It seems to take longer to get on the buses than before, although this might speed up though once people get used to them, and the seats near the back are pretty uncomfortable. However I am very impressed by the very futuristic buzzer.”
The City Council has continued to defended the buses, and Council member, Bill Woolley, said “The ftr offers a unique opportunity in York to move the quality public transport provision to a new level.
“It will ensure our phenomenal success in growing public transport usage continues.”