First York

First York
FirstGroup.svg
First bus outside York rail station, 2011-02-10.jpg
A Wright Eclipse bodied Volvo B7L, seen at York Railway Station in February 2011, branded in the former corporate livery.
Parent First
Founded 1932 (89 years ago)
Headquarters James Street
York
North Yorkshire
YO10 3WW
Service area York
Service type Bus and coach
Depots 1
Fleet 105 (as of May 2019)
Managing Director Paul Matthews
Website www.firstgroup.com/ukbus/york

First York[1] is a bus operator, running local bus services to destinations in and around the city of York. It is a subsidiary of FirstGroup.

History

A Wright Eclipse bodied Volvo B7L, seen on Station Road in York in April 2008, branded in the original York Park & Ride livery.
A Plaxton Expressliner bodied Volvo B10M, seen on Station Road in York in June 2008, branded in the former Aircoach livery.
An ftr branded Wright StreetCar, seen in April 2007, operating on the 4 to Acomb.
An articulated Mercedes-Benz Citaro, seen at Rawcliffe Bar in April 2012, branded in the former York Park & Ride livery.

In 1932, the York-West Yorkshire Joint Committee was formed, as part of a joint venture between West Yorkshire Road Car Company and York City Council.[2]

Following the introduction of the Transport Act 1985, such joint ventures were prohibited, with West Yorkshire Road Car taking full ownership.

In October 1986, services were re-branded as York City & District as West Yorkshire was broken up for deregulation, and in 1989 was sold to the AJS Group with the other former West Yorkshire companies Harrogate & District, Keighley & District and Yorkshire Coastliner. In 1990 AJS Group sold York City & District to Yorkshire Rider who re-branded it Rider York.

In April 1994, Rider York was included in the sale of the Yorkshire Rider business to Badgerline.[3]

First was formed in April 1995, following the merger of Badgerline and GRT Group, with Rider York being rebranded as First York in 1998. In the same year, First took ownership of Glenn Coaches, followed by York Pullman in 2000.

Fleet and operations

First York currently operate a number of local services in and around the city of York, as well as the York Park and Ride.[4]

As of May 2019, the fleet consists of 105 buses.[5] All services are operated from a single depot, located at James Street.

Route branding is not common, excluding Your Bus branded services operated on behalf of the University of York, and services branded for the York Park and Ride.

In the past, route branding existed on a number of local services, with branding depicting the line colour, frequency of vehicles, and main stops along the route.

University of York

In August 2015, First York commenced operation of a five-year contract to provide services on behalf of the University of York, with vehicles branded in Your Bus livery.[6][7][8][9]

York Park and Ride

First York operate York Park and Ride services, in partnership with the City of York Council.[10]

There are six park and ride sites across the city, these being located at: Askham Bar, Grimston Bar, Monks Cross, Poppleton Bar, Rawcliffe Bar and York Designer Outlet.

York Park and Ride services are currently operated by a combination of Alexander Dennis Enviro 200 (York Hospital Shuttle Bus), Wright Eclipse Urban bodied Volvo B7RLE(routes 7 and 8), articulated Mercedes-Benz Citaro (routes 2 and 3), and fully electric Optare Versa (routes 9 and 59).[11][12][13]

A fleet of 21 electric double-deck Optare MetroDeckers are due to be introduced on to York Park and Ride services, with these being originally scheduled for delivery back in October 2019.[14][15][16]

York Racecourse

A shuttle bus service operates between York Railway Station and York Racecourse on race days. This service is operated jointly by First, Transdev York and York Pullman. Routes 4, 11 and 12 also operate to stops nearby, with a short walk to the racecourse.[17]

Former operations

ftr

In May 2006, First York took delivery of eleven articulated Wright StreetCar vehicles. They were introduced on to route 4, running between the University of York and Acomb, as part of the ftr scheme being trialled in the city.[18]

The FTR scheme was largely unpopular with people in York for a number of reasons, including frequent problems with ticketing, pricing, punctuality, and the vehicles being excessively long.

Protests were especially heated amongst students, with the University of York's students' union engaging in negotiations with First York, encouraging the company to introduce student discounts.

York Pullman was awarded the contract to operate services on behalf of the University of York, and launched Unibus in 2010. Due to competition from York Pullman's Unibus, the price of the ticket for students on First's (now commercial) route 4 dropped significantly.[19]

The ftr scheme meant that bus stop areas had to be extended in order to accommodate the length of the longer vehicles. However, in many cases, this was done in contravention of the guidance given in the council's highway design document. This led to ftr buses blocking the road, and further adding to traffic congestion.

In 2009, First York replaced the articulated Wright StreetCar vehicles with standard low-floor buses during the evening and on Sundays.

Following their victory at the 2011 local elections, the controlling Labour Party on the City of York Council set about to ensure that the ftr buses were replaced.

The articulated Wright StreetCar vehicles ran in York for the last time on 10 March 2012, being replaced 11 double-deck Wright Eclipse Gemini vehicles from First South Yorkshire's depot in Rotherham.[20]

The vehicles were transferred to other services within First West Yorkshire area, with some later being used on the Hyperlink 72 service between Leeds and Bradford.[21]

X64

In 2009, First York launched a half-hourly X64 express service, running between York, Tadcaster, Seacroft and Leeds, designed to compete with Yorkshire Coastliner. The service was withdrawn in August 2010.[22]

York Aircoach

In February 2007, First York introduced an hourly service, linking York with Leeds Bradford Airport. Branded as York Aircoach, it was based on a model and brand successfully used by Aircoach, operating to and from Dublin Airport.[23][24]

Four Volvo B10M coaches were acquired for this operation, all being branded in First's Excel coach branding, with additional York Aircoach branding applied. The service was later rebranded as York Airlink 787, using buses instead of coaches. The service was withdrawn in April 2009.[25]

References

  1. ^ Companies House extract company no 2168890 First York Limited formerly Rider (York) Limited formerly York Cityrider Limited
  2. ^ History[dead link] First York
  3. ^ Badgerline pays £38m to take Rider on board The Independent 22 March 1994
  4. ^ "York Network Map" (PDF). First York. 3 September 2018. Retrieved 9 March 2020.
  5. ^ FirstBus Handbook. Telford: British Bus Publishing. 2019. ISBN 9781912063291.
  6. ^ First awarded prestigious university bus contract First Bus 10 June 2015
  7. ^ University contract win leads to rebranding for First York services Archived 1 July 2015 at the Wayback Machine Bus & Coach Professional 18 June 2015
  8. ^ "Strong start for First's Your Bus network in York" Coach & Bus Week issue 1204 1 September 2015 page 10
  9. ^ New First York services begin Bus & Coach Buyer 4 September 2015
  10. ^ "York Park & Ride". First York. Retrieved 9 March 2020.
  11. ^ Electric Versas for York - First operating six Optare Versa EVs on new Park and Ride Bus & Coach Buyer 20 June 2014
  12. ^ More Versa EVs for York P+R Bus & Coach Buyer 26 May 2015
  13. ^ More electric Versas for York Optare 19 May 2015
  14. ^ "York To Boast One of the Biggest Fleets of Double Deck Electric Buses Outside of London". Optare. 25 March 2019. Retrieved 18 April 2019.
  15. ^ First York orders 21 electric deckers for park-and-ride Route One 27 March 2019
  16. ^ York set for 21-strong Optare Metrodecker fleet Coach & Bus Week issue 1387 2 April 2019 page 8
  17. ^ "York Races shuttle bus | York". First Bus. Retrieved 9 March 2020.
  18. ^ Johansson, Per-Martin (10 May 2006). "StreetCar to make bus travel more attractive". www.volvobuses.co.uk. Retrieved 9 March 2020.
  19. ^ Laycock, Mike (2 October 2010). "University of York backs new bus funding". York Press.
  20. ^ Controversial ftr buses make their final journey in York The Press 13 March 2012
  21. ^ "'Hyperlink' service launched between Leeds and Bradford". Coach & Bus Week. 31 October 2012. Retrieved 9 March 2020.
  22. ^ X64 York to Leeds bus service is scrapped The Press 19 July 2010
  23. ^ "Aircoach". FirstGroup. Retrieved 20 May 2008.
  24. ^ New Leeds Bradford Airport Link First York
  25. ^ Timetable York Air Coach

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