York Pullman coach outside York Minster

FirstGroup plc acquires York Pullman Bus Company

  • Agreement to purchase York Pullman Bus Company
  • High-performing business with strong track record of growth.
  • Independently-owned and highly reputable operator of coaches and buses, providing contracted and private hire services in York and the wider area from several depot locations.
  • Completion of the acquisition is anticipated in the next few weeks, subject to customary regulatory review.

FirstGroup plc has signed an agreement to purchase York Pullman Bus Company Ltd.

York Pullman is a high-performing business comprising five well-established brands in the provision of bus and coach services. It has a strong presence in regional and business to business (B2B) operations in York and the surrounding area of North Yorkshire.

York Pullman is predominantly a provider of home-to-school and college contracted services and private hire operations including rail replacement. It also comprises a small number of local bus routes operated on behalf of several local authorities and complementary to the operations of First Bus operations in York.

The business has a mixed fleet of more than 130 vehicles with varying passenger capacity which has enabled it to build a broad range of customers.

The acquisition of the York Pullman business will both enhance FirstGroup’s operational footprint in North Yorkshire and provide growth opportunities in adjacent markets and development of its private hire capability.

Graham Sutherland, FirstGroup Chief Executive Officer said: “A key pillar of our strategy is to grow and diversify our portfolio. The acquisition of York Pullman – a long- established, high-performing business – fits well with our strategy as it will both enhance the First Bus operational footprint in North Yorkshire and expand our adjacent services business, where we are looking to grow our presence.”

Tom James, Managing Director of York Pullman, will remain with the company and continue to run it on a standalone basis with support from the existing York Pullman team alongside the First Bus executive team. He will also contribute to the development of the First Bus coach services growth strategy.

He said: “This is an important step in the development of York Pullman to build on its success and ensure its sustainability for the future within FirstGroup, whilst retaining its identity and core values.”


Notes to editors

FirstGroup plc

FirstGroup plc (LSE: FGP.L) is a leading private sector provider of public transport services. With £4.8 billion in revenue and around 30,000 employees, we transported more than 1.8m passengers a day in 2022/23.

We create solutions that reduce complexity, making travel smoother and life easier. Our businesses are at the heart of our communities and the essential services we provide are critical to delivering wider economic, social and environmental goals.

Each of our divisions is a leader in its field: First Bus is the second largest regional bus operator in the UK, serving two-thirds of the country’s 15 largest conurbations with a fleet of more than 4,500 buses, and carrying more than a million passengers a day.

First Rail is the UK’s largest rail operator, with many years of experience running long-distance, commuter, regional and sleeper rail services. We operate a fleet of more than 3,500 locomotives and rail carriages through three management fee-based train operating companies (Avanti West Coast, GWR, SWR) and two open access routes (Hull Trains and Lumo). We are formally committed to operating a zero-emission First Bus fleet by 2035, and First Rail will help support the UK Government’s goal to remove all diesel-only trains from service by 2040.

In February 2023 FirstGroup was named as one of the world’s cleanest 200 public companies for the fourth consecutive year by sustainable business media group Corporate Knights in partnership with US not-for-profit organisation, As You Sow. We provide easy and convenient mobility, improving quality of life by connecting people and communities. Visit our website at www.firstgroupplc.com and follow us @firstgroupplc on X.

First Bus

At First Bus, we are on a mission to grow bus usage. We will get behind initiatives that move people out of cars and onto bus. ​

We are one of the UK’s largest bus operators, delivering over a million passenger journeys every week for the communities we serve.

 Transforming our business for the better, we are putting our people and customers at the heart of all we do.

We are all about making journeys easier for our customers, which is why we were the first national bus operator to rollout Tap On, Tap Off payment technology across our entire UK fleet of 4500 buses. Our First Bus app has also been recognised as ‘best in class’ amongst UK bus operators.

First Bus is committed to operating a zero-emission bus fleet by 2035. By March 2024, 15% of our will fleet will comprise Zero Emission Buses (ZEBs).

We are passionate about giving back to the communities we serve, which is why we are helping local businesses to progress their own decarbonisation journeys with access to our charging hubs while our buses are on the road.

We also operate the Aircoach network in Ireland, Specialist Passenger Solutions, First Travel Solutions and Ensignbus.

First Bus is a division of FirstGroup.  

Find more information on First Bus here: https://news.firstbus.co.uk/   

York Pullman Bus Company Ltd

York Pullman Bus Company is a highly reputable operator of coaches and buses, providing both contracted and private hire services. The company has expanded through organic growth and acquisitions, over 23 years to become the leading family-owned operator in the area. Based at strategic depot locations across York and the surrounding area, it has a fleet of 130 well-maintained vehicles with a mix of sizes and capacity providing a wide spectrum of services.