MCGILL’S Buses, the UK’s largest independent bus operator, is to introduce a further 41 new electric buses to its fleet in a £20million investment.
The company, owned by Scottish billionaire businessmen Sandy and James Easdale, has now invested a total of £55million in electric fleet since the end of 2021, placing it in the top three companies in the UK for fleet decarbonisation.
McGill’s now has a total of 109 EV buses – almost 20% of the company’s fleet – with further purchases to follow.
The majority of the new fleet will be used around Inverclyde and Renfrewshire, with Ayrshire and Dundee (through Xplore Dundee) also benefiting from the new vehicles.
As part of the latest vehicle investment, McGill’s has also financed substantial infrastructure upgrades at four of its depots to enable charging and maintenance of the electric fleet.
A major training programme is also underway to upskill vehicle technicians to support the next generation of buses entering service.
James Easdale, chairman of McGill’s Group, said: “This is the latest milestone investment for McGill’s Group as we seek to get more people viewing bus travel as a go-to option.
“The purchase of an additional 41 new electric vehicles is not only important for the environment as Scotland pursues its net zero target but also serves our passengers and the wider economy. We have also invested heavily in infrastructure and training and we want to ensure our business retains its position as the leading independent operator in the UK.”
Sandy Easdale, McGill’s Group director, said: “McGill’s has one of the most modern bus fleets in the UK and we intend to build on this as we phase out older vehicles, particularly in our recently acquired McGill’s Scotland East business.
“James and I have invested substantially not only in vehicles but also growing the business by expanding our reach across Scotland. The company is also seeing hugely positive results from our long-distance coach partnership with FlixBus. We firmly intend to continue this upbeat approach into the future.”
The investment in electric vehicles by McGill’s Buses was also supported by funding from the Scottish’s Government’s Scottish Ultra-Low Emission Bus Scheme and by the Scottish Zero Emission Bus Challenge Fund.
Ralph Roberts, CEO of McGill’s Group, said: “This investment shows faith in the Scottish Government’s Bus Partnership Fund, which will see local authorities deliver major bus priority schemes in Glasgow, Renfrewshire and Dundee.
“This achievement is testimony to the hard work of the teams within McGill’s Scotland West and McGill’s Xplore Dundee to rebalance the business to EV operation over 18 months. This huge investment is expected to bring major benefits to our customers, the population of Renfrewshire and Glasgow and to our staff. It is a huge vote of confidence from the owners and will pave the way to a brighter future in bus operation.”