Go-Ahead Group Plc (LON:GOG) today announced it has agreed terms with FirstGroup to purchase the Queen’s Road bus depot. The sale, which is due to complete in the next few months, will take Go-Ahead into Manchester, Britain’s second-largest urban area, for the first time.
Go-Ahead is looking forward to working in partnership with Transport for Greater Manchester (TfGM) to deliver operational excellence, innovation and a focus on customer service.
Go-Ahead is the largest bus operator in London and runs seven other regional bus companies in Britain, plus overseas bus services in Ireland and Singapore. Go-Ahead’s regional bus services have a customer satisfaction score of 91%, the highest in the industry, according to an independent study by Transport Focus.
While the initial focus will be on ensuring a smooth transition to maintain services from day one of the new operation, Go-Ahead will invest in the people, vehicles and systems to improve the local bus services to customers. Buses from Queen’s Road predominantly serve destinations in the centre, North Manchester and Salford.
David Brown, Chief Executive of Go-Ahead, said: “We look forward to contributing to Manchester’s community and transport. 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.
“As a business that prides itself on looking after our colleagues, we hope to reinvigorate the Queen’s Road depot. We also look forward to engaging in open conversations with TfGM, stakeholders and customers in the Manchester area to better understand how we can create a sustainable and thriving service.”
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.