First Bus restructures as Government funding cuts loom in England

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First’s 10 operating areas could be reduced to six local business units as First Bus plans for Government funding to end for bus operators in England.

Managing Director of First Bus Janette Bell announced proposed changes on 30 June to the firm’s senior leadership teams.

A major aspect of the changes would see current operating companies grouped into larger areas. The six proposed new local business units would comprise:

  • Scotland (unchanged from the current set-up)
  • North and West Yorkshire (to include York)
  • Manchester, Midlands and South Yorkshire (Manchester operations added to existing Midlands and South Yorkhire division)
  • East of England (consisting of a re-merged Eastern Counties and Essex)
  • Cymru and West of England (Worcester operations moved from Midlands to this group)
  • South and South West England (Hampshire, Dorset and Berkshire combined with South West)

CBW contacted First Bus for a comment. A spokesperson said: “At First Bus we are currently talking to our leaders about a proposal to reshape our business – consolidating 10 senior leadership teams into six local business units. The leaders within our business who are potentially affected by these changes are being consulted with and we are committed to being open and transparent with them to reduce any period of uncertainty. We remain focused on increasing our drivers and maintaining our engineering colleague numbers. Once consultations have taken place with our leaders and proposals have been finalised, we will look to communicate any agreed changes externally. As always, we remain committed to delivering the best service that we can for our customers and to treating our people with care and respect.”

First’s Worcester depot will be grouped with the Cymru and West of England divisions if the proposed changes go ahead. RICHARD SHARMAN