Posted on Thursday 14 February 2013 by Ulster Business

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Ballymena based manufacturer Wrightbus has received an order for 179 new single deck buses from UK bus and rail operator First Group.

The order came as part of First Group's investment in 464 new vehicles for delivery in the 2013/14 financial year worth a total of £76m.

First Group has also ordered 222 vehicles from Falkirk's Alexander Dennis Ltd, 37 from Volvo Group and 18 from Leeds-based Optare, with a further eight to be ordered from one of the manufacturers.

Wright Group's contract is worth in excess of £28m.

Wright Group's Managing Director Mark Nodder said: "Wrightbus is thrilled to be awarded this substantial order from FirstGroup. It is a huge endorsement of the development of our StreetLite range of lightweight buses, which proved themselves best in class in every category at fuel trials conducted at Millbrook Proving Grounds under the close scrutiny of FirstGroup's engineers. We look forward to continuing our close working relationship with First, a partnership which has lasted more than 17 years."

Giles Fearnley, Managing Director of First UK Bus, said the company was continuing to invest in its bus division.

"We are committed to growing our business and encouraging more people to use our services and to use them more often. These new buses will see our investment reach some £240m in nearly 1500 vehicles over the last three years. This is enabling us to make a step change in the quality of service that we offer."

Last year Wrightbus signed a £41m deal to supply over 500 double-decker buses to Singapore.

It was also confirmed that Transport for London had ordered 600 new buses to replace the iconic Routemaster.

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