FirstGroup Announces Sale of Eight London Bus Garages


Somewhat out of the blue FirstGroup have announced the sale of eight of their bus garages in the capital. First began a rationalisation of their bus operations last year, and further sales had been expected, but eight garages is more than many expected. The full press release is below.

As part of FirstGroup’s stated strategy to reposition its UK Bus division to focus on those areas that offer the greatest potential for growth, it has today announced the sale of eight of its London bus depots.

The bus depots at Alperton, Greenford, Hayes, Uxbridge and Willesden Junction, along with 494 vehicles and approximately 1,700 employees, will transfer to Metroline on completion of the sale for a gross consideration of £57.5m. Metroline is an existing London bus operator and wholly-owned subsidiary of Comfort DelGro Corporation Limited, a Singapore-incorporated transportation company.

The bus depots at Atlas Road, Lea Interchange and Westbourne Park, along with approximately 400 vehicles and 1,500 employees, will transfer to Transit Systems Group, an Australian transport operator, on completion of the sale for a gross consideration of £21.3m.

Both disposals are subject to the necessary regulatory approvals including contractual obligations with Transport for London.

Commenting, Giles Fearnley, First’s Managing Director UK Bus, said:

“The sale of these operations marks further progress in our programme to reposition our UK Bus portfolio, recover performance and equip the business to achieve sustainable revenue and patronage growth. Our strategy is to focus on those areas of the country which offer the greatest potential and while we have been a key operator in London for many years, our focus going forward is on the deregulated market outside of the capital.

“Today’s decision is a business driven one and does not reflect on the effort, commitment or individual performance of our employees in London and we will be supporting them fully as they transfer to their new employers. Over the years we have enjoyed a constructive relationship with Transport for London and look forward to working closely with them to ensure this transfer goes ahead as smoothly as possible.”

Written by John Bull
John Bull is the Editor of London Reconnections. A transport journalist and historian, his writing often focuses on the political or strategic challenges facing London's transport network and beyond.