Finglands agree to sell bus operations to FirstGroup for a bargain price, subject to OFT clearance
Who’d have thought it? Within two years of expanding its 18 service from Shudehill Interchange to Rusholme, First Greater Manchester aims to improve its market share in South Manchester. This time, it has set its sights on the bus operations of Finglands and agreed to purchase them for £50,000.
The transfer, if approved by Whitehall, will include 100 employees and the lease of its Wilmslow Road garage. Its 41 vehicles wont be affected by the fee though some of its buses may be seen in FirstGroup livery. Finglands will continue to operate coach services, in the same way Mayne of Manchester has done since Stagecoach bought its bus operations in February 2008.
Should Finglands’ bus operations transfer to First Greater Manchester, it will offer a new operational base for its 18 and 53 services. FirstGroup buses will be seen in Altrincham for the first time since the 500 [Bolton – Manchester Airport] route’s withdrawal. Passengers on another 41 should expect to see the new Barbie livery before long. By December, FirstGroup could be operating two 41s in Greater Manchester!
Before 1991, Finglands was one of Greater Manchester’s oldest independent bus and coach operators. They were among the first companies to compete with GM Buses on the Wilmslow Road corridor. After 1991, its bus and coach operations were taken over by East Yorkshire Motor Services.
Since the reduction of its season ticket and FirstDay prices, patronage on First Greater Manchester’s routes have increased by 8% in the last three months. Perhaps FirstGroup’s impending incursion to the Wilmslow Road corridor might ruffle a few feathers in Hyde Road given Stagecoach’s domination of South Mancunian bus routes.
S.V., 01 August 2013
(Happy Yorkshire Day)