First prepares for Rochdale take-over

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General Manager Paul Townley (right) with Operations Manager Mike McGowan oversaw the £750,000 enhancement of Rochdale bus depot. FIRST

As the start of the third tranche of Transport for Greater Manchester franchises approaches, work is underway to enhance Rochdale bus depot, which will be operated by First Bus. The company is preparing to take responsibility for running Rochdale services in the Bee Network from Sunday 24 March and has begun significant improvements to the former Transdev site on Corporation Street.

Some £750,000 is being invested in the depot with a focus on enhanced engineering facilities, including a new double height workshop bay for vehicle repair and maintenance. The yard area will also be improved to provide better space for operations.

General Manager Paul Townley explained: “We are delighted to get started on these major improvements which will create an excellent working environment. Our team of drivers, engineers and supervisors is all in place together with an experienced management team and we will be ready to go on the 24 March.”

The Rochdale workforce includes around 95 drivers that will transfer to First Bus from Transdev.

Paul added: “We will soon be welcoming many new colleagues who will add valuable knowledge. This new depot is creating high-skilled, well paid jobs locally and regionally and as we continue to invest in the Rochdale area, First Bus is determined to help build the economy and link key communities as we support the latest phase of the Bee Network.”

When it takes over, the depot will operate more than 30 routes in the Rochdale and Bury area together with six school services using a fleet of over 65 buses, and have capacity to expand this to 90 vehicles.