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TSSA Nationalisation Call For FirstGroup Franchises

30 May 2019

TSSA General Secretary, Manuel Cortes, has demanded all bus and train franchises held by FirstGroup return to public control after the company signalled a breakup is being considered.

Despite seeking a buyer for Greyhound buses in the United States FirstGroup has also confirmed it intends to focus future business operations on North America.

The company’s Chief Executive has told the BBC “We have decided the future emphasis of our business is going to be our North American contract business.”

Furthermore, the Aberdeen-based company is looking at selling or merging its bus division – First Bus - which currently operates a fifth of all local UK bus services outside London.

The First Rail business - which also operates the South Western Railway and TransPennine Express – is also under review.

In response Manuel Cortes said: “What we have heard from FirstGroup shows there is not a scintilla of doubt that they are no longer interested in bus and rail services in the UK.

“This is hugely concerning for the future of our transport network and the millions of people who rely on it daily. There would also be a significant dent in the economy if these services are all but abandoned, as FirstGroup seem to be planning.

“For the good of all it’s crucial that the Government acts now to take these rail franchises and bus routes back in house. That is the right thing to do in order to protect jobs, services and our network.”

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