First Bus has today announced its intention to sell the Queens Road bus depot and operations to the Go-Ahead Group for £11.2m.
The intended sale would include the First Manchester depot site at Queens Road and the bus fleet of around 160 vehicles. The sale is expected to complete within several weeks and employees who work for the Queens Road bus operation will transfer to the Go-Ahead Group.
First Manchester will continue to operate existing local bus services from the Queens Road site until the sale is completed and customers should see no changes to their daily journeys throughout this period of transition.
Go-Ahead is based in the North East and the firm operates bus and rail services across the country.
Today’s news will see First Manchester continue to operate from two sites, Oldham and Bolton. These depots and the services that operate from them are unaffected by today’s announcement.
Speaking about today’s announcement, Giles Fearnley, Managing Director of First Bus, said: “I’d like to thank our employees for their continued hard work to deliver the best experience possible for our customers in Greater Manchester. Today’s announcement does not reflect on the effort, commitment or individual performance of our Queens Road employees and we will be supporting them fully as they transfer to their new employer. Over the years we have enjoyed a constructive relationship with both Go-Ahead and Transport for Greater Manchester and look forward to working closely with them to ensure this transfer goes ahead as smoothly as possible with minimal impact for our customers.
“We continue to support the OneBus partnership in the city region and believe that a positive partnership between the Mayor; Local Authorities; businesses; the community and OneBus, can help tackle the increasing impact of congestion and deliver a package of improvements which puts customers first and offers good value for both passengers and public investment.”
Cllr Mark Aldred, Chair of Transport for Greater Manchester, said: “Our first priority is passengers across Greater Manchester and affected staff.
“We have been reassured by both First and Go-Ahead that the transfer of services will be managed in the best way to minimise disruption. We will continue to liaise with both operators to monitor the situation closely during the transition, including seeking further clarity about the impact on passengers and staff.”