Mayor heads to N.Ireland to meet workers

29 February 2016

·        New order for 195 New Routemaster buses protects 300 jobs at Wrightbus

·        New Routemaster supply chain supports UK businesses from Cornwall to Darlington

The Mayor of London is in Northern Ireland today (29 February) where he is confirming an order with Wrightbus for another 195 of the iconic New Routemaster buses.

Billions of pounds are invested by Transport for London on products and services from businesses outside the capital every year; and the deal with Wrightbus will safeguard 300 manufacturing jobs, as well as support a supply chain of companies across the United Kingdom.

The Mayor is confirming the order during a visit to the Wrightbus chassis plant that was created as a direct result of orders for London’s New Routemaster bus. While there he will tour the factory floor and meet the team building London’s iconic red buses.

Transport for London has a productive relationship with businesses in Northern Ireland and in 2015 they spent £93m with suppliers based there.

Later in the day the Mayor will head to Magherafelt to meet staff at Windell Ltd. They are glazing specialists who have supplied glass for projects including the Emirates Air Line. He will then head to Lisburn to meet staff at Boomer Industries Ltd, one of the most respected names in the plastics industry, and a supplier of materials for the New Routemaster.

The day will conclude when the Mayor addresses guests at a business reception at Hillsborough Castle hosted by the Northern Ireland Chamber of Commerce and Industry, in partnership with Wrightbus.

The Mayor of London, Boris Johnson MP, said: “I am absolutely delighted to be able to confirm a further order for these superb buses. They are a masterpiece of British engineering and design, and they prove that we are capable of building a bus in the UK with cutting edge technology that simultaneously delivers jobs and growth around the country.”

The production of 1,000 New Routemaster buses in Northern Ireland by the family-owned Wrightbus Group – which employs 2,000 local people – has sustained 300 jobs, created 100 brand new jobs and supported 120 apprenticeships. Today’s order was made at a reduced rate of £319,000 per bus, which is comparable to the cost of a standard hybrid bus. 

Welcoming the deal, Secretary of State for Northern Ireland, the Rt Hon Theresa Villiers MP said: “This is brilliant news for Ballymena-based Wrightbus and all the Northern Ireland firms in the supply chain who stand to gain from this significant investment by TfL.

“I have been deeply committed over recent months to helping get this over the line for Northern Ireland so I am particularly pleased with this deal. These iconic buses represent a powerful link between Northern Ireland and Greater London, as well as with all the other UK firms whose expertise contributes to the outstanding qualities of this world class vehicle.”

The buses have two staircases and three sets of doors allowing large numbers of passengers to board and alight and will be supplied with opening windows on the upper and lower decks following feedback from passengers. 

The buses boast the latest Euro 6 engines and will increase the number of hybrid buses in the Capital to 1,900 – representing 20 per cent of the overall fleet – when they enter service in summer 2017.  

As well as the manufacture of New Routemaster chassis and superstructures in Northern Ireland, a number of components for New Routemaster buses are made by companies from around the UK; including engines from Darlington, seats from Telford, seat moquettes from Huddersfield, wheelchair ramps from Hoddesdon and flooring from Liskeard.

Transport for London figures show that investment in the capital’s transport network is safeguarding jobs across the whole of the UK, with more than 60 per cent of TfL’s spend through its supply chain going to suppliers outside of London.  It buys from a wide range of suppliers across the UK including insulated tools engineered in Wednesbury, bolts forged in Oldbury, vehicle flooring from Liskeard, timber milled in Jarrow, cable made in Co Durham, steel rails from Scunthorpe and new trains from Derby. Altogether investment in London’s transport network supports 60,000 jobs in the UK supply chain. 

London's Transport Commissioner, Mike Brown MVO, said: "Northern Ireland is a vital link in the supply chain for TfL, and today's visit demonstrates that investing in transport infrastructure in London means investing outside it too, creating and safeguarding jobs across the country."

Mark Nodder OBE, Chairman and CEO of Wrights Group, said: “We are delighted to receive this contract extension for a further 195 New Routemasters from TfL.  This will secure employment of around 300 of our workers for a further 12 months, and will benefit our extensive supply chain both in Northern Ireland and throughout the rest of the UK.  For us the New Routemaster has combined innovation and cutting edge technology in a way which showcases the best of British manufacturing excellence.

“We would like to thank Mayor of London, Boris Johnson, and TfL for this endorsement of our company’s capability, and also acknowledge the tremendous support and encouragement we have received from both our local MP Ian Paisley, and also Secretary of State The Rt Hon Theresa Villiers MP.”

Notes to editors

        The first 800 New Routemaster buses will be in passenger service by July 2016, the additional 195 buses will be delivered by summer 2017.

  

  •         TfL fully intends that these new buses will operate for their entire working life – of at least 14 years – in the capital which means that a multi-million pound saving will be delivered over the useful life of the buses, even taking into account the marginally higher initial cost of the buses.  

 

  •         Estimates of jobs supported in the TfL supply chain were calculated independently by Regeneris.

 

Wrights Group

 

  •         Wrights Group designs and manufactures buses for the customers in UK, Ireland, USA, Europe, Hong Kong, Singapore and India. They are Europe's leading independent bus manufacturer and a privately owned, family company.

 

  •         Wrights Group was established in 1946 and has manufacturing operations in Ballymena and Antrim. They are renowned for pioneering, innovative vehicle designs, a large product portfolio and quality engineering.