Work commences on First Glasgow’s £20m new bus depot

Posted: 6 December 2013 | First Group | No comments yet

New state of the art facility expected to be complete October 2014…

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  • New state of the art facility expected to be complete October 2014
  • First Glasgow customers to benefit from improved performance
  • Company makes provisions for increase in passenger numbers

The city’s leading bus operator, First Glasgow, this morning officially unveiled the ten acre site that in 2014 will become home to the company’s brand new £20m bus depot and headquarters.

The honour of putting the first spade in the ground at the site at Gushetfaulds on Cathcart Road in the south side of the city belonged to local MSP Nicola Sturgeon, the Deputy First Minister. She was joined by First Glasgow’s new Managing Director, Fiona Kerr, two of the company’s longest serving employees, Mechanic Willie Walker and Bus Driver John McGregor, as well as First’s youngest apprentice, 16 year old Jak Monaghan.

First confirmed that the new facility will be the biggest bus depot in the UK with space for up to 450 buses and 1200 employees. First has created room for an additional 150 buses as it aims to attract more customers on to its services.

The new depot will bring 300 buses and 800 employees from First Glasgow’s current headquarters at Larkfield into the same complex for the first time. Construction is due to be complete in October 2014 with the site fully operational in November 2014.

Fiona Kerr, Managing Director of First Glasgow, said: “It’s really exciting to think that this time next year we’ll be enjoying a state of the art facility specifically designed for operating and maintaining buses.

“One of my main priorities is to increase the number of people using our buses. We are working extremely hard to achieve that by making our services more attractive. Indeed in the last 12 months we’ve invested some £25m in 151 new buses and put in place a significantly improved new network, simpliCITY, providing high frequency services for our customers.

“Today’s £20m investment in our new depot and headquarters is great news for our customers – the new facility will help us improve upon an already strong punctuality and reliability performance and we hope it will encourage people to consider bus travel more often.”

She continued: “Such is our commitment to growing our business and our confidence in increasing passenger numbers that we have created space at the new site for an extra 150 buses and 400 staff.

“It’s great news that from November 2014 my colleagues will have the working environment that their talent, commitment and dedication deserve.”

Meanwhile Deputy First Minister, Nicola Sturgeon, whose constituency includes Gushetfaulds, commented: “I’m delighted that First is investing significantly in a bespoke, state of the art, brand new bus depot and headquarters at Gushetfaulds. It is a real boost to the local economy and we’re looking forward to welcoming First to its new home in 2014. It was a tremendous honour to be given the opportunity of putting the first spade in the ground.”

Securing the contract to construct the new headquarters is global infrastructure group, Balfour Beatty. Stephen Scott, Delivery Unit Managing Director for Balfour Beatty said: “We are delighted that First Glasgow has awarded Balfour Beatty the contract to construct its ambitious state of the art bus depot in the south side of Glasgow. We completed the infrastructure works for the depot and look forward to building on our strong relationship with our customer to deliver this project that will help revitalise an area which has lain derelict for many years.”

The new buildings will incorporate some of the latest advances in design. Key features include:

  • New vehicle lifts
  • 20 prefabricated, fully equipped pits
  • New spray booth/oven for painting buses
  • New bus washes and refueling facilities
  • Brand new training facilities
  • Modern accommodation for drivers including lockers and canteen facilities

First also revealed that its new facility will be one of the greenest bus depots in the UK. It will feature:

  • The introduction of ‘photovoltaic solar cells’ on the roofs – the latest and most effective form of solar paneling which is forecast to generate between 175,000 and 185,000 Kilowatts Per Hour of electricity a year – enough to power around 40 houses per year.
  • Rainwater harvesting will be introduced so that roof water can be used in the bus wash, which is forecast to save up to 2.2million litres of water per year – enough to fill 22 double decker buses.
  • Low energy intelligent lighting that dims when natural daylight is available activated by infrared detectors
  • A Building Management System which senses when a door is opened and automatically shuts down the heating within those areas to minimise heat loss
  • New fuel tanks fitted with intelligent monitoring to 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.

One of First’s longest serving employees, Nightshift Mechanic, Willie Walker, helped Nicola Sturgeon put the first spade in the ground today. The 65 year old from Cathkin started his career in September 1964. He said: “When the new depot opens I will have racked up 50 years with the company. I’ve seen a lot of changes, particularly as a result of new technology. Buses now are much easier to look after and much smoother for drivers and customers too, but I’ve still got a soft spot for the buses that we operated in the 1960s.”

Meanwhile, First Glasgow’s youngest apprentice, 16 year old Jak Monaghan from Stamperland, Glasgow started working for First in September this year. He said: “Everyone in the engineering department is really looking forward to moving to our new home. Some of the current maintenance team took part in the design of the new workshops and so we expect everything will be better laid out making it easier and quicker to maintain our buses.”

Groundworks for the construction have already been completed and the entire project is scheduled to finish in November 2014. The development will consist of three separate buildings – a bus maintenance facility, a dedicated service tunnel with a deep clean facility and a specialist long-term vehicle repair unit. The service tunnel will be fitted with an automated chassis clean unit, two high-specification automated vehicle washes, fuel installation and facilities for vehicle testing and body shop repairs.

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