First Minister opens UK’s biggest depot

Scotland’s First Minister, Nicola Sturgeon, has opened what has been described as the biggest bus depot in the UK. First Glasgow has relocated operations to the newly constructed £20m site in Cathcart Road in the south side of the city. The bespoke facility houses 300 buses and 800 employees, although it has space for up to 450 buses and 1,200 employees. The Minister originally visited the site for the ceremonial act of putting the first spade into the ground to start the new facility’s construction a year ago.

Now fully operational, the depot has been named ‘Caledonia’, the name chosen following a staff competition. Consisting of a bus maintenance workshop, a dedicated ‘deep clean’ service tunnel and a specialist long-term vehicle repair unit, the new buildings also feature ‘Photovoltaic’ solar panelling. These cells can power 40 homes a year and capture rainwater to be used in its two large automated vehicle washes. Other features include: bespoke vehicle lifts; 20 prefabricated, fully equipped pits; a new spray booth/oven for painting buses; new bus washes; new training facilities and modern accommodation for drivers including lockers, gym and canteen. New fuel tanks fitted with intelligent monitoring are installed at the site, which allow instantaneous readings of all fluids and which will automatically re-order supplies. The system orders only to a capacity of -10% to avoid overfilling and reduce environmental risks. It also detects any water contamination.

MD of First Glasgow, Fiona Kerr, said, ‘I’m delighted to welcome back the now-First Minster to our new depot. She helped start the construction of this fantastic new facility and it’s great to be able to show her what has been delivered. This is the best and most advanced bus depot in the UK – as well as the biggest – and we see it as a launch pad for the growth and expansion of First Glasgow. Spending on new vehicles in 2015 will bring First Glasgow’s investment in new buses, in less than three years, to above the £37m mark. That, combined with this £20m new facility, demonstrates an unrivalled financial commitment to Glasgow. We’re committed to delivering the best services for our customers, and providing the best operating environment for our staff. This new centre of operations will help us improve upon our strong punctuality and reliability performance as we strive to be the best bus company in the UK and encourage people in our communities to consider bus travel more often.’

Nicola Sturgeon said, ‘First Glasgow is an excellent employer, setting an example for companies across the country. First Glasgow has a strong number of apprentices on board and is committed to helping people back to work, including long term unemployed and ex-service personnel. It is just over a year since I put the first spade into the ground on this site and I am delighted to officially open “Caledonia”, First Glasgow’s new depot.’

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