The billionaire Scottish brothers, Sandy and James Easdale, owners of McGill’s Buses, have now completed their acquisition of First Scotland East – and vowed that local management will be empowered to make decisions for local services serving local people.
McGill’s, the UK’s largest independent bus operator, has also unveiled two new retro bus liveries – with each design reflecting iconic local buses of the past.
The company said it was looking to invest in the months and years to come to provide a better service for customers.
McGill’s Group has taken control of bus depots in Larbert, Bannockburn, Balfron and Livingston and all of the fleet formerly owned by First Scotland East.
Edinburgh’s popular open-top bus tour, Bright Bus, is also included in the purchase.
Approximately 550 staff have now moved to McGill’s, taking the company’s total staff to more than 2,000.
Services in Stirling and Falkirk area will be branded as McGill’s Midland Bluebird whilst services in West Lothian will be branded as McGill’s Eastern Scottish.
The company said it would now work to rejuvenate every area of the business in the coming months and years.
James Easdale, chairman of McGill’s Group, said:
“The Scotland East business and Bright Bus tours are now part of McGill’s and we are delighted to welcome our new colleagues to the group.
“As witnessed following our recent deal for Xplore Dundee and in our partnership with FlixBus, we are determined to invest operationally to ensure our customers receive a service they value and can enjoy using.
“We believe in empowering local teams to deliver for their local communities rather than a centralised, top-down approach – we want passengers to have an affinity with their local buses and one step in that process is the introduction of iconic liveries for the fleet.”
Sandy Easdale, Director of McGill’s Group, added:
“As seen across our businesses and in McGill’s Group, we have a clear vision for growth and profitability and we are able to conclude deals speedily and with the minimum of fuss. The opportunity to bring First Scotland East businesses into McGill’s was always an attractive proposition to us and it now gives us a presence across the central belt.
“Whilst others may be shying away from expansion given the unsettled economic picture, we are continually seeking new opportunities to invest in transport, construction and property.”
Ralph Roberts, CEO of McGill’s Group, said:
“There is scope to rejuvenate the Scotland East businesses to ensure we can combine the advantages of the McGill’s Group with effective, local management that will benefit passengers.
“In the period to come, we will be examining every area of the business to revitalise our offering such as customer interaction, staff development and training, vehicle quality and local decision-making.
“One of our key priorities will be to invest in the fleet and bring down the average age of buses on the road – that will be to the benefit of passengers, staff and the environment."