Bus Builder On Route To Success

A bus company based in Ballymena has won a contract worth more than £50m.

The company director of Wrightbus Mark Nodder, said they will build about 450 buses over the next 18 months.

He commented: "We've been working on this contract for about the past six months. We recently landed a similar-sized contract with Arriva, so put together these two contracts will be the foundation for our business over the next year."

The order comes from FirstGroup plc, which is spending about £160m upgrading its bus fleet.

FirstGroup is one of the biggest transport operators in the UK, and currently operates 8,000 buses.

Most of the buses in the new order will be replacements for older vehicles.

Mr Nodder added that the vehicles would be a mixture of single-deck and double-deck buses, and that they would be used in London for transportation during the Olympics.

"They're going into service in London, and in fact many of them will be used, so that will give us a very high profile during that period."

Mr Nodder said he believed that business was starting to improve after what he said had been a "lean couple of years".

"I think the outlook is strengthening month by month. But it's going to be another 12 to 18 months before we're back to what I would call normal service.

"However, the contract with Arriva and this latest one from FirstGroup are very good steps along the way."

DUP Representative for North Antrim, Mervyn Storey has congratulated Ballymena firm Wrightbus.

Mr Storey commented: "Once again we see that Wrightbus is leading the way in terms of design and development in transport. The success of the company in securing these substantial orders will be a major boost for the local economy in North Antrim.

"I am delighted that FirstGroup, a FTSE 250 listed company have seen the superior quality and skill contained in the company by awarding these contracts to Wrightbus. Wrightbus is a very valued local employer, which has a good working relationship with the local government at Stormont.

"Over the last number of years the DETI Minister and Invest Northern Ireland have worked closely with the company to help them innovate and develop a new bus. It is good that this investment is paying dividends for the company. I hope we can continue to work together to see further success in the future," he said.


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