We will go ‘further and faster’ to cut carbon, pledges McGill’s owners

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The owners of McGill’s Group – the UK’s largest independent bus operator – have pledged further zero-emission fleet investment as the first of £32.5m order for electric buses takes to the road.

“Transport companies need to go further and faster to play their part in halting climate change,” owners Sandy and James Easdale, owners of McGill’s Group, said as they formally unveiled a new fleet of 68 all-electric buses at an event in Renfrewshire.

The investment in 68 pure-electric buses supplied by Yorkshire-based Pelican Bus and Coach, is aided by funding from the Scottish Ultra Low Emission Bus Scheme. 

McGill’s is now the largest operator of electric buses in Scotland and the fleet will be serving the COP26 climate conference when it gets underway in Glasgow in a month’s time.

James Easdale, chair of McGill’s Group, (pictured, left) said: “It is crucial that everyone – individuals, businesses and government – play their part in trying to drive down carbon emissions. This year has seen a shift in attitudes towards climate change and there is a recognition that we need to act fast, not simply set new targets for a decade down the road.

“We’re delighted to launch the new fleet of 68 all-electric buses which will deliver zero emission journeys but this should only be the start for businesses such as ours.

This year has seen a shift in attitudes towards climate change and there is a recognition that we need to act fast, not simply set new targets for a decade down the road”

James Easdale, Chair, McGill’s Group

“All transport operators need to act urgently to not only reduce their own carbon footprint and also work harder to entice people away from their cars. There is now almost 7.3million more cars in Britain than there was in 2000 – this rate of growth can’t continue.

“We believe the new fleet will be an attractive option for the public but we’re also looking at technology such as hydrogen buses and how we can get them into service. If Scotland and the UK is to lead the way on climate change then we collectively need to transform what we are doing and we’re ready to invest to make that happen.”

Sandy Easdale (pictured, right) said: “The introduction of these additional vehicles into our Renfrewshire and Glasgow networks will bring a significant reduction in CO2 emissions, at over 2 billion grams every year.  

“Yet purchasing new vehicles is not simply a tool to reduce our own emissions – it is about making bus travel an option for those who wouldn’t consider it currently which will in turn reduce congestion and fumes from cars on the road.”

Ralph Roberts, CEO of McGill’s Group said: “The electric fleet provides a whisper quiet ride plus enhanced passenger comfort options through on-board air conditioning and availability of USB charging. This is a significant step forward for our fleet and customers.”

About McGill’s

Founded in 1933, McGill’s has depots in Greenock, Inchinnan, Johnstone and Coatbridge. In late 2020, McGill’s purchased Xplore Dundee from National Express.

McGill’s prides itself on high-level customer service and invests heavily in the new vehicles, driver training and development. The company has an in-house driver training academy in Johnstone.

McGill’s worked closely with the Prince’s Trust on the ‘Get Into Bus Engineering’ scheme, to allow younger workers an opportunity to become engineers with McGill’s. The company is also accredited as an Investor in Young People.

About Sandy and James Easdale

McGill’s Bus Service Ltd is owned by Arranglen Ltd, the investment vehicle of the Easdale family. Its interests include manufacturing of windows and glass, high grade office properties, land investments, the Saveheat Group and vehicle fleet lease and repair companies.  

In the last 12 months, the Easdales have brought forward construction and property projects worth more than £450million.

They are the driving force behind a huge £250 million, 850-home housing development at a 130-acre site in Glenrothes. The development, featuring 850 new homes, a care home, retirement village, commercial, retail and leisure space, has been approved by Fife Council. The family have also unveiled a £100m plan for 400 new homes at the former IBM site in Greenock which will create 500 jobs. The site is currently awaiting planning permission by Inverclyde Council.

In autumn 2020, Sandy & James also announced the purchase of the landmark former Watt Brothers department store in Glasgow in a rejuvenation plan expected to cost more than £20m.

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