First Bus combines Midlands and South Yorkshire units

First Bus has combined its Midlands and South Yorkshire units into a single operating company, First South Yorkshire and Midlands. The change has been made to “support and protect the long-term future of bus services” in those areas, the group says. It came into effect on Monday 1 June.

Existing First Midlands Managing Director Nigel Eggleton takes on the same role at the expanded business. The remainder of the senior leadership team is formed by Commercial Director Kevin Belfield, Engineering Director Carl Wooley and Operations Director Rob Hughes.

Former First South Yorkshire Managing Director Garry Birmingham and former Commercial Director Allan Riggall have each taken on new roles within First Bus. Mr Birmingham has become Programme Director Carbon and Mr Riggall is Head of Networks.

Mr Eggleton says he intends to work closely with local government and other stakeholders in South Yorkshire as part of plans to develop and grow First Bus’s business in the region. He has also paid tribute to staff across the Midlands and South Yorkshire area for their work to maintain services during the coronavirus COVID-19 pandemic.

The move follows a torrid period for First South Yorkshire, during which Mr Birmingham apologised to customers for poor service delivery.

Speaking in The Star, Mr Eggleton added that the First South Yorkshire and Midlands senior team will initially spend 75% of their time in South Yorkshire. Successful commercial initiatives that have been rolled out in Leicester, North Staffordshire and Worcester will be repeated in Doncaster, Rotherham and Sheffield, he says.

On his departure, Mr Birmingham says: “I have been proud to have led this business with dedicated colleagues working hard for our customers. I am confident that Nigel and his team will build on that progress as we face a changing world of challenges and opportunities for public transport in the region.”