THE boss of McGill’s Buses has spoken of his staff’s ‘breath-taking dedication’ during the pandemic, as the firm prepares to celebrate two decades of serving Inverclyde.
Chief executive Ralph Roberts paid tribute to employees who have stepped up as the company copes with the challenges of covid-19.
McGill’s plan to celebrate two decades of operating in the district with an action-packed open day at their Greenock depot in July.
Ralph said: “I knew I was blessed with a brilliant team, but when a pandemic happens, that’s when you really see it. The dedication was breath-taking.
“At the start of the pandemic, when we had no passengers, and before furlough, we had meetings with hundreds of staff to try and decide what to do.
“We didn’t want to make redundancies. Almost everyone voted for a three-day week to keep everyone in a job. I get a lump in my throat just thinking about it.”
It was at the start of Greenock Fair in 2001 that the McGill’s operation — owned by Greenock brothers Sandy and James Easdale — started in Inverclyde with 32 minibuses rented from Arriva.
It’s impressive expansion really got going after Ralph arrived in 2010, going from 60 buses to the current 600. As the biggest independent operator in the UK, it now has routes in a number of areas including Inverclyde, Renfrewshire, Glasgow, Lanarkshire and Dundee.
McGill’s has been at the forefront of investment in vehicle and ticketing technology and is awaiting delivery of a 56-strong fleet of electric buses to be based in Inchinnan and Johnstone.
The first of those vehicles is expected to be one of many available for people to have a ride on at the open day at the Earnhill Road depot on 3 July alongside vintage Clydeside buses and Ralph’s own 1977 Western Leyland Leopard.
An original McGill’s Mercedes minibus will be there too, plus one of the company’s modern small buses, and a double-decker repainted in heritage livery from the original McGill’s of Barrhead access to workshop.