Ballymena bus maker the Wrights Group has confirmed a four year, multi-million pound deal to supply vehicles to Scottish operator Lothian Buses.
Announced during the 2016 Euro Bus Expo event taking place this week in Birmingham, Wrightbus confirmed it has been awarded a new framework supply agreement for more than buses from next year up to 2020.
Though neither company would reveal the value of the deal it will go a long way to securing jobs in Ballymena.
It also comes as the firm which is celebrating its 70th anniversary announced its intention to buy the former JTI plant at nearby Lisnafillan to accommodate future growth plans.
“We are delighted to be selected by Lothian Buses as its primary supply partner for Lothian’s BUS2020 environmental fleet strategy,” said Wrights Group chairman and CEO Mark Nodder.
“We expect the agreement to cover the supply of up to 316 vehicles with a mix of diesel, diesel hybrid and electric technologies.”
Key milestones in the agreement will be the supply of five new Wrights StreetAir EV full electric buses during summer 2017 for an exciting new project in Edinburgh, the first order for these vehicles outside of London, with a further six to follow during 2018.
In addition to vehicle supply, the framework agreement will include a comprehensive support and training package for Lothian’s engineering team.
Confirming the order at the Euro Bus Expo, Lothian MD Richard Hall said: “Lothian Buses is pleased to extend its close partnership with Wrightbus and Volvo for a further four years.
“This reflects the special working relationship between the companies which has enabled Lothian Buses to benefit from pioneering vehicle configurations and styles. We look forward to new and exciting Buses joining our fleet in years to come.”