McGill’s Buses to acquire First Bus Group’s East Scotland business

McGill’s Buses to acquire First Bus Group’s East Scotland business

Ralph Roberts, Sandy Easdale, James Easdale, McGill's buses

First Bus has agreed to sell its Scotland East business and all its routes in the area to McGill’s Group.

The sale, which will be finalised on 19 September, includes all First Bus depots in Livingston, Larbert, Bannockburn and Balfron, as well as the Edinburgh open-top bus operation Bright Bus Tours. It also includes all buses which currently operate in the region and approximately 550 staff.

First Bus’ presence in Scotland will remain with its long-established businesses in Aberdeen and Greater Glasgow and is concentrating on driving passenger recovery and growth across both networks following the pandemic.

First Bus is making great strides towards its commitment to a fully zero emission fleet by 2035. This includes £35 million investment in green transport, in partnership with Transport Scotland, at its Scotstoun and Aberdeen depots.

Duncan Cameron, managing director of First Bus Scotland, said: “I’d like to thank our employees for their continued hard work to deliver the best experience possible for our customers across the First Scotland East business. We will be supporting them fully as they transfer to their new employer.

“This sale is part of a strategic refocusing of our Scottish businesses with significant investment in zero emission buses in Glasgow and Aberdeen. We’re pleased that McGill’s, who are a trusted Scottish bus operator brand, will take the Scotland East business forward and wish them every success.

“We will continue to operate our services as usual until the handover date, working closely with McGill’s and with our local authority partners, and continuing our commitment to our customers through the service we offer them.”

Owned by Scottish businessmen Sandy Easdale and James Easdale, McGill’s has invested heavily in its business and services, including the recent purchase of Xplore Dundee from National Express and its partnership with international coach operator FlixBus for longer distance routes.

James Easdale, chairman of McGill’s Bus Group, said: “Everyone at McGill’s Group is excited about welcoming Scotland East into our stable and the opportunities that lie ahead. Our team are passionate about using our expertise to build the business in the years ahead so we can retain and attract new passengers across the region. We’re pleased the opportunity has arisen to acquire the business and we appreciate the efforts of First Bus towards ensuring a smooth transition.”

Ralph Roberts, CEO of McGill’s Bus Group, said: “We would like to welcome all First Scotland East employees into the McGill’s family. In the weeks and months ahead, we will be engaging with our new colleagues for feedback and also listening to the views of local stakeholders as we seek to deliver the best bus service possible.

“We firmly believe that we can combine the advantages of the McGill’s Group with unique local transport brands and we will be announcing further details on that post-completion.”

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