First pledges £6 million spend on new buses for Falkirk

New buses like these will be on Falkirk routes from the end of July
New buses like these will be on Falkirk routes from the end of July

A £6 million spend on a fleet of new state-of-the-art buses will put Falkirk passengers first – at last!

After years of complaints about the state of the vehicles carrying them around the district, local customers finally have something to smile about.

Bosses at First Scotland East have confirmed the lion’s share of the bumper order they have just placed with Alexander Dennis Limited in Camelon will be handed over to local operators First Midland Bluebird as soon as they start rolling off the production line at the end of next month.

Of the 31 state of the art single and double deckers to be assembled by ADL at its Glasgow Road works, 26 will carry the famous Bluebird livery.

In addition, another 15 ‘nearly new’ single deck buses will be relocated to run on Falkirk routes as soon as they have been refurbished.

The brand new buses will be fitted with CCTV and leather seats, offer free Wi-Fi and provide more dedicated space for wheelchair users and passengers with pushchairs.

They will also be low carbon eco-friendly buses powered by the latest low emission engines to be developed by ADL.

Paul McGowan, managing director of First Scotland East said: “Our £6 million investment underlines our continuing determination to provide ever better bus services in our area and encourage more people to travel with us.

“These new vehicles will be among the best and most eco-friendly in the country and will allow our passengers to enjoy pleasant, more comfortable journeys while taking advantage of the free internet access as they travel. We think it is all great news for them.”

Colin Robertson, chief executive of ADL, said: “We’re delighted to have won this very significant order and be continuing our long established and thriving relationship with FirstGroup.

“It’s a huge endorsement of our new generation market-leading midi and double deck buses and a further demonstration of FirstGroup’s commitment to the green technologies of tomorrow.

“It also should not be forgotten that orders like this support 2000 ADL jobs in the UK and thousands more in our extensive supplier network.”

The latest investment in Scotland East is part of a £78 million spend by FirstGroup’s UK bus division to replace nearly 390 buses this financial year. In the last five years it has ploughed nearly £385 million on a fleet of over 2200 buses.

It now has the largest fleet of low carbon certified buses in the UK.

Local passengers have been complaining for years about the condition of the ageing Bluebird fleet.

Complaints about buses failing to turn up because they had broken down and claims not enough were available to maintain services because they were garaged for repairs have led to the Traffic Commissioner taking action to warn the company to improve standards.

After a passenger hit out in April about the nightmare ride he had on 20-year-old double decker from Stenhousemuir to Dunipace First Midland Bluebird promised action.

Now it has delivered!