The following letter has been circulated to "interested parties" by Giles Fearnley, boss of First Bus.
I am writing to update you on the future of First Bus.
This morning, FirstGroup has announced that it plans to sell all its North American businesses and return to being a UK-focused transport operator, with bus and rail services at its core.
FirstGroup will support First Bus in continuing to play a key role in supporting and stimulating growth across local and regional economies, whilst reducing the environmental impact of transport. The division grew over the last year and we continue to prioritise investment in local markets where our partners support our ambitions to deliver thriving and sustainable bus services.
It is heartening to see the growing recognition across the political spectrum and at all levels of government, that buses have a huge role to play in achieving social and environmental ambitions and improving local economies. In particular, we welcome the Government’s announcement in February of a new £5bn, five-year funding package which will include support for simpler fares, thousands of new green buses, improved routes and higher frequencies. We look forward to working with our partners in preparing compelling bids for these funds.
So fbb won't now be buying any of the First Bus companies!
First had previously announced that they were to dispose of First Bus and develop their business in America.
Yesterday's full announcement from the Board included this, on the vexed subject of First's UK Rail operations:-
We will continue to actively manage First Rail’s existing portfolio of rail franchises to deliver sustainable benefits for passengers, shareholders and our other stakeholders. We also look forward to the publication of the Williams review, which we hope will provide much anticipated clarity around the future shape of rail franchising.
You might be forgiven for thinking that "Hydrogen Buses" burn hydrogen like a diesel bus burns diesel fuel but, alas, you would be wrong. Hydrogen buses are driven by electric motors, often with back-up batteries, and the gas is used to generate the electric.
The buses moved to a bog-standard suburban bus route, the 444 (Turnpike Lane to Chingford) ...
So, several questions.