Private Eye’s ‘Dr B Ching’ has been taking a look at First Group’s ftr (which stands for “future” public transport!) bendy buses that have been operating in York since 2006.
The system is very similar to the bendy bus BRT scheme proposed for Bristol, and we learn that First Group boss, the maybe/maybe not Labour donor, Moir Lockhead insisted in 2005 that, “ftr is the perfect solution for local authorities in the battle against congestion.”
Alas, now York City Council reveals that there’s been a 1.9% drop in bus use between 2006-07 and 2007-08 – in the time, in fact, since “the perfect solution” got underway.
Satisfaction rates among the public have fallen too. In 2003-04 71% were satisfied with their bus service in York. Today that figure is just 68% while there’s also been huge amounts of complaints about ticketing and delays.
Fans of open government will no doubt be interested to learn too that the architects of this cut-price public transport tripe – First Group boss Lockhead and, then, Transport Secretary, Alistair Darling – met to specifically discuss ftr in October 2005.
But alas we shall never know what was said as department of Transport officials say “no notes were produced” of this meeting.
Nice to see such transparency and openess between big business and government around our future transport needs isn’t it?