South Scotland

Transport minister to meet First Group over bus deal

Bus Image copyright First Group

Transport Minister Humza Yousaf is to meet with First Group to discuss its plans to sell its operations in the Borders and Midlothian.

It announced this week it had agreed a deal in principle with West Coast Motors to be concluded on 25 March.

MSP Christine Grahame raised the issue at Holyrood, seeking reassurances over employment and service provision.

Deputy First Minister John Swinney said the Scottish government was already looking into the proposed sale.

First Group revealed its intention to sell its operations on Wednesday, blaming the impact of the Borders Railway.

It would see its Galashiels depot, Peebles, Hawick and Kelso outstations and all staff transfer to West Coast Motors.

Travel implications

In response to Ms Grahame's question, Mr Swinney said talks were planned to look at any potential impact of the deal.

"We are engaging with the operators and also with the relevant local authorities to understand the situation and any implications for the staff and the travelling public," he said.

"We welcome the assurances that have been given by First that all the jobs, pay and conditions will be protected."

He said the transport minister would be speaking with the managing director of First Scotland East next week to discuss the issue.

"We will consult publicly on measures in the transport bill later this year to address some of the issues that are raised," he added.

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