COMMUTERS across Malvern have been assured bus services will continue as normal despite uncertainty over the future of First Bus in the UK.
District council chiefs won the assurances from First Midlands boss Nigel Eggleton during a meeting at the town’s council house on Thursday.
Together with councillors from neighbouring Wychavon, Malvern Hills members sought a meeting with the franchise operator after its parent company in the United States revealed First Bus was no longer part of its plans.
FirstGroup has five public transport businesses – First Bus and First Rail in the UK and First Transit, First Student and Greyhound in North America.
The company is currently consulting stakeholders and has advised the changes, whilst being carried out at the appropriate pace, are expected to take some time.
First bosses hope the UK arm will be separated by a sale, meaning the franchise can continue and Mr Eggleton met with councillors to discuss the plans and what it might mean for passengers.
He offered reassurances that services will continue as normal in both districts while the future of First Bus is resolved.
Coun Sarah Rouse, leader of Malvern Hills District Council, said: “With more than 5,400 households not having access to a vehicle in the district, bus services provide an essential lifeline to some residents.
“Depending on what happens, this could provide an opportunity to fill in gaps and to improve the service where needed.”
A First Group spokesman said: “We announced that we will be pursuing strategic options, through a sale or other means, to separate First Bus from FirstGroup.
“Please be assured that as this process unfolds we will continue to operate our services as usual, working closely with our local authority partners and demonstrating our commitment to our customers through the service we offer them.
“In recent years we have improved customer service at First Bus by investing in our buses and new technology, transforming our networks, and making operations and maintenance more efficient.
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