First London disposals approved
First has received the necessary regulatory approvals from TfL and the Traffic Commissioner for the sale of its London bus operations. Originally announced on 9 April 2013, the operator has completed the sale of five of its depots in the capital to Metroline and three to Transit Systems Group for a combined consideration of approximately £80m. This comes at the same time as it announces plans to pull out of its Dagenham depot, the company’s last remaining London operation, with the routes operated from this location transferring to rivals in the area, who are believed to be Go-Ahead and Stagecoach.
FirstGroup’s MD UK Bus, Giles Fearnley, said, ‘The sale of these operations reflects further progress in our programme to reposition our UK Bus portfolio, recover performance and equip the business to achieve sustainable revenue and patronage growth. Our strategy is to focus on those areas of the country which offer the greatest potential and, while we have been a key operator in London for many years, our focus going forward is on the deregulated market outside of the capital. We continue to work closely with TfL to ensure that the transfer to new operators goes as smoothly as possible.’