Translink double-decker bus order allays jobs fears at Wrightbus

Announcing that Translink is to take delivery of 28 new high specification double deck buses this summer from Wrightbus in Ballymena are Wrights Group chairman Mark Nodder and Chris Conway from Translink. Photo: Brian Morrison
Gary McDonald Business Editor

TRANSLINK has placed a £6.7 million order with Wrights Group for 28 new high specification Ulsterbus double deck vhiecles in a move which could allay fears about future job losses at the Ballymena manufacturer.

In February Wrightbus put 95 workers on notice, and then at the start of June revealed that another 95 of its 1,500-strong staff would be laid off, blaming market uncertainty for hitting new orders.

But the Translink order for new Urby brand buses to operate on key commuter routes between outlying towns including park and ride routes and Belfast has come as a welcome relief to the firm.

Wrights Group chairman and chief executive Mark Nodder admitted: “At a time when the UK market for new buses has come under pressure the support of Translink and the Department for Infrastructure is particularly welcome, and this order helps our workforce in Ballymena and the wider supply chain in Northern Ireland and the UK.”

He added: “We are proud to be delivering the first of a new fleet of double decker buses for Translink. The buses are state of the art in terms of specification, performance and emissions. They look fantastic in the new Urby livery, and are sure to turn heads when they enter service later in the summer. ”

Translink Group chief executive Chris Conway added: “We are looking forward to introducing these new vehicles. They will offer the highest levels of comfort with new features such as leather seats, USB charging points and free wifi. We are also piloting innovative mobile cradle devices on seat backs on some vehicles – this facility is a first in the UK.

“The introduction of these vehicles gives us the opportunity to launch a new service brand – Urby, inspired by the number of ‘smarter’ travellers living outside the city and looking for a better way to commute and connect with the city to get more ‘me time’ and enjoy a more active and healthier travel option compared to the car.

“These new vehicles will roll out on busy commuter routes over the coming months including Ballyclare, Newtownards, Lisburn, Carryduff and Finaghy including park and ride routes from Blacks Road, Sprucefield and Cairnshill, marking the start of our plans for Ulsterbus Urby routes."

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