The Go-Ahead Group has agreed to purchase First’s Queen’s Road bus depot in Manchester for £11.17m in cash, including 163 buses. The deal, which is due to complete in the next few months, will take Go-Ahead into Manchester for the first time, and ahead of potential changes to the operating regime under mayor Andy Burnham’s plans.
Go-Ahead says the initial focus will be on ensuring a smooth transition to maintain services from day one of the new operation. Buses from Queen’s Road predominantly serve destinations in the centre, north Manchester and Salford.
“We look forward to contributing to Manchester’s community and transport,” says David Brown, chief executive, Go-Ahead. “Buses are an essential public service that help passengers get to work, access education and healthcare, for leisure and visits to relatives. We aim to deliver a comfortable, reliable service while investing to improve air quality.”
Giles Fearnley, managing director, First Bus, said the announcement does not reflect on the effort, commitment or individual performance of its Queen’s Road employees. “We will be supporting them fully as they transfer to their new employer,” says Fearnley. “Over the years we have enjoyed a constructive relationship with both the Go-Ahead Group 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.”
The Queen’s Road depot will operate as Go North West, while a local brand will be chosen in collaboration with customers and stakeholders.
Go-Ahead has agreed £11.17m in cash for the acquisition which includes 163 buses.