Wrightbus could be in line to sell hundreds of buses in future London deal
Ballymena's Wrightbus could be in line for a deal to sell hundreds of new buses to London in the next five years, after the sale of its current Routemasters to the capital comes to an end, it's understood.
The company is to complete a total order for 1,000 of the red Routemaster - or so-called 'Boris buses' - to Transport for London (TfL). Winning the order has been a major boost to Wrights Group - one of Northern Ireland's most successful manufacturers.
But North Antrim DUP MP, Ian Paisley, said he expects Wrights Group "to be well-placed to successfully win a considerable part of ongoing London bus contracts, as they come forward over the next three years".
A report in The Guardian newspaper at the weekend referred to a Transport for London (TfL) business plan, in which it vowed to discontinue purchases of new Routemater buses.
London Mayor Sadiq Khan had already pledged to stop buying pure diesel double deckers from 2018, in favour of using more environmentally-friendly vehicles.
The Routemasters were one of former London Mayor Boris Johnson's highest profile acts during his time in office.
But Mr Paisley said he believed Wrightbus's relationship with TfL would continue. "The company will finish the 1,000 buses as planned, and then revert to competition to supply bus operators in the normal way," he said.
"Earlier last year, I met with TfL bosses and they have indicated that London will require a further 1,000 buses before the end of 2020.
"They see Wrights Group as one of their foundation partners in delivering that objective.
"I am in regular contact with this very successful company, whose business is a world transport provider.
"However, given the iconic image of the London Bus, this is an important order.