A £17.5million investment in all-electric buses has been announced by Greenock-based McGill’s, the UK’s largest independent bus operator.
Thirty-five vehicles have been ordered by the company, comprising 23 fully electric single deck buses for the Johnstone to Glasgow route as well as 12 fully electric double-deck buses for Xplore Dundee, which McGill’s acquired from National Express in December.
Alexander Dennis Limited (ADL) are to supply the double-deckers plus one single deck bus whilst Pelican Yutong will supply 22 vehicles to the firm.
As part of their investment into the cleanest transport technology, McGill’s will also install new electrical charging infrastructure at its depots in Johnstone and Dundee.
The electric buses and infrastructure will be delivered in the second half of this year. The investment is aided by the Scottish Ultra Low Emission Bus Scheme.
McGill’s also announced that it is in advanced talks with a variety of partners to bring 12 hydrogen buses into the business in the next 12 months.
The new fleet purchase takes McGill’s capital investment since 2014 to more than £50million, around £40million of which has been spent on new vehicles.
Ralph Roberts, chief executive of McGill’s Group, said: “McGill’s is recognised for the exceptionally high standard of its fleet and we’re delighted to be making this new investment into electric vehicles.
“Customer and driver comfort is at the forefront of our specification and we are confident that bus users will enjoy the silence and comfort, safe in the knowledge that their already low-emission journeys are now zero emission at the point of use, with the benefits that brings for air quality and the environment.
“By the end of 2021, the McGill’s Group will operate more electric buses than any other operator in Scotland.”
The company is owned by Greenock businessmen and investors Sandy and James Easdale, whose extensive portfolio includes commercial and residential property, transport, manufacturing and hospitality interests.
Sandy said: “The transport sector continues to be affected by the pandemic but this hasn’t dented our confidence in the business -– far from it.
“When we purchased Xplore Dundee in December we promised we would continue to invest and this brings our expenditure to more than £50million over the past seven years.
“McGill’s has been built into such a successful brand by our willingness to spend and provide a quality service to passengers and this will continue.”
James said: “The last 18 months have seen Sandy and I announce construction projects worth more than £400million as well as the planned £20million redevelopment of the Watt Brothers store in Glasgow.
“Whilst we’ve been asked if our focus has shifted from transport to property, this deal for new vehicles demonstrates that McGill’s continues to be a key business for us and one which we will continue to grow in the years to come.”