Template:Infobox Company FirstGroup plc (Template:Lse) is a Scottish transport company operating in the United Kingdom, Ireland and North America, with headquarters in Aberdeen. It is listed on the London Stock Exchange and is a constituent of the FTSE 100 Index.


FirstGroup plc is Britain's largest bus operator running more than one in five of all local bus services. A fleet of nearly 9,000 buses carries some 2.9 million passengers a day in more than 40 major towns and cities. FirstGroup also run passenger and freight rail services in the UK. Passenger rail franchises consist of First Great Western, First Capital Connect, First TransPennine Express and First ScotRail. They also operate First Hull Trains(a 80% share), a non-franchised open access intercity passenger train service and provide rail freight services through FirstGBRf. First operates the Croydon Tramlink network carrying approximately 24 million passengers a year on behalf of Transport for London, although its contract has been cancelled and will be transfered wholly to TfL.

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In North America, FirstGroup has several divisions: First Student which runs school bus routes; First Transit which holds many city and county public transport contracts; and First Vehicle Services which maintains vehicles for many corporations, organisations and local governments, including the other First divisions and Greyhound lines. Canadian operations are provided through their First Canada subsidiary which operates school buses and fulfills public transport contracts.

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FirstGroup has always had a consistent brand and most of the names of its operations begin with the word First, such as First ScotRail, First Aberdeen, First Glasgow and First Bristol. The company has since removed all local branding for its local bus services - buses now simply carry the fleet name ‘First’ throughout the UK, although each company still operates independently. Its corporate colours are white, rubine red and blue, and many of its buses and trains are now liveried in these colours - though buses and trams operating Transport for London-tendered services, and suburban rail services in Strathclyde operated on behalf of SPT retain those authorities' liveries - red, and carmine/cream respectively.

First own and operate the Aircoach service in Dublin, linking Dublin Airport with the Dublin southside suburbs as well as long distance runs to Cork and Belfast; as of 2007 this does not carry corporate branding.


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The company was formed as FirstBus in June 1995 through the merger of two bus companies, the Badgerline Group (see Badgerline) and GRT Limited (Grampian Regional Transport).

In 1998 the company was renamed FirstGroup when the company moved into railways with the privatisation of British Rail, gaining the Great Eastern franchise, then purchasing Swindon based Great Western Trains, holders of the North Western and Great Western franchises. Soon after, they also began operating London’s Tramlink system under franchise from London Transport.

During 2004, First were awarded the ScotRail franchise to run trains in Scotland, in which it already operated the lion’s share of bus services, and took over the new TransPennine Express franchise in partnership with French transport company Keolis. In addition, First Great Western run the Heathrow Connect service in partnership with BAA.

The First North Western franchise, however, was lost to Serco/NedRailways in December 2004. First North Western’s services in northern England were combined with those previously run by Arriva Trains Northern (and not part of the Transpennine network) to form the new Northern Rail franchise.

First have also lost First Great Eastern to National Express Group who operate it as National Express East Anglia. In fact, they were banned from bidding for the franchise, despite being named Train Operator of the Year at the time.

From 1st April 2006 First has operated a new rail franchise under the brand First Capital Connect. This comprises the amalgamation of the existing Great Northern line of the former wagn service and the Thameslink line.

The Great Western franchise was extended in 2006 to also include the services of the former Wessex Trains and Thames Trains, and this new franchise was again awarded to First.

New World First Bus (NWFB) of Hong Kong was jointly established and owned by the group and NWS Holdings Limited since 1998 . The brand new company had successfully won the tender of 88 Hong Kong Island routes formerly operated by China Motor Bus. In late 2000, the group sold all 26% of NWFB stocks to NWS Holdings.

In February 2007, FirstGroup agreed to buy the U.S.-based firm Laidlaw, an operator of inter-city coaches and yellow school buses across North America, for £1.9 billion (US$3.7 billion). This also gives them a controlling stake in Greyhound Lines, the largest bus operator in North America.[1]

On October 1, 2007 Firstgroup completed its acquisition of Laidlaw to become the largest school bus company in America.[2]

First also operate bus services in Germany and have a joint venture with Danish State Railways.[3]

Senior managementEdit

First's senior management are as follows: [4]

Operating companiesEdit

Rail servicesEdit

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Light rail services Edit


Bus and coach servicesEdit

UK Edit

Template:See also

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Outside the UK Edit

Fleet numbersEdit

In 2003 First introduced the SemaVoyager system of fleet numbering across all its fleets. Vehicles now carry five-digit fleet numbers, with the first digit denoting vehicle type, as follows:

Services formerly operatedEdit


See alsoEdit

External linksEdit

Template:Major UK Transport Companies Template:FirstGroup Template:FTSE 100 Index constituents Template:Bus companies in Scotland Template:Bus companies in England Template:Bus operators in Scotland

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