Antrim plant to manufacture 600 chassis for hybrid London buses
Boris Johnson praises €250m fleet order for ‘greenest diesel buses in world’
London mayor Boris Johnson is in Ballymena today to open a manufacturing plant that will build the chassis for 600 new hybrid buses for London. Photograph: Andrew Winning/Reuters
Mayor of London Boris Johnson is visiting Northern Ireland today to open a manufacturing plant that will build the chassis for 600 new hybrid buses for London. The contract is worth just over £212 million (€250 million).
Wrightbus, a family-owned company based in Ballymena, Co Antrim, will build the fleet – the greenest diesel hybrid buses in the world – over the next three years. The chassis plant, in Antrim town, was opened in response to the mayor’s order for the buses, each of which is worth some £325,000 (€382,000).
Around 40 people work at the chassis plant and that will increase to around 90 once when full production is underway.
Mr Johnson will later travel to the main Wrightbus factory in Ballymena to view the full production line. The Wright Group employs more than 1,400 local people and Transport for London’s order will sustain 220 jobs there over the next three years.
Further new jobs will be created as the bus fleet will be supported by the Wrightbus Customcare after sales service. The new bus for London contract will also sustain 18 apprenticeships over the life of the contract, six per year over the three year contract.
London’s Transport Commissioner, Sir Peter Hendy said: “This chassis plant and the Wrightbus main plant in Ballymena are a real demonstration of the important role investment in London’s transport network plays in supporting jobs and growth throughout the UK. Sustained and long term investment is vital to our suppliers so they have the certainty to invest in jobs including apprenticeships across the country.
“London’s population is increasing by the equivalent of one full Tube train of people every week. Without sustained investment we will not be in a position to keep pace with the capital’s population, which is expected to hit 9 million by 2018.”