Clean travel

Easdales order 41 electric buses from China

On the buses: James and Sandy Easdale

Billionaire brother Sandy and James Easdale, owners of McGill’s Buses, have placed a £20 million order for 41 electric buses from a Chinese company.

The vehicles will be manufactured by Pelican Yutong in China with finishing work, such as interiors, undertaken in the UK.

The investment is supported by funding from the Scottish’s Government’s Scottish Ultra-Low Emission Bus Scheme and by the Scottish Zero Emission Bus Challenge Fund.

Taxpayer funding supports the removal of diesel vehicles. None of the manufacturing will be done in Scotland.

The Easdales have now invested a total of £55m in their electric fleet since the end of 2021, placing McGill’s in the top three companies in the UK for fleet decarbonisation.

The fleet now has 109 EV buses – almost 20% of the total – with further purchases to follow.

The majority of 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.”

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.”

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.”

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