Science Fair Project Encyclopedia
The company was formed as FirstBus in June of 1995 through the merger of two bus companies; BadgerLine and GRT Bus. In 1998 the group was renamed to First Group when the company moved into railways with the privatisation of British Rail. Soon after, it began operating London's Tramlink system.
First Group has a very strong brand and most of the names of its operations begin with the word First, such as First Great Western, First Badgerline , First Eastern National and First Thamesway . First has since removed all local branding for its local bus services - buses now simply carry the fleet name 'First' throughout the UK. Its corporate colours are white, pink and grey and many of its buses and trains are now liveried in these colours (though buses and trams in London retain their traditional red livery).
The company makes profits of over £100 million, and has been criticised in many areas for its poor quality of service and excessive attitude towards making money to the detriment of the passengers. During 2004, it was awarded the Scotrail franchise to run trains in Scotland, in which it already operated the lion's share of bus services, and took over the new Transpennine Express franchise. The First North Western franchise, however, was lost to First when in December 2004 it was combined with services previously run by Arriva Trains Northern to form the new Northern Rail.
It has also lost First Great Eastern to National Express Group who operate it along with Anglia Railways and WAGN, as One Railway. In fact it was banned from bidding for the franchise. New World First Bus (NWFB) of Hong Kong is jointly owned by the group and NWS Holdings Limited . In early 2004, ownership of the company passed to Chow Tai Fook .
- First Great Western
- First ScotRail
- Transpennine Express
- First Great Western Link
- Hull Trains
- National Rail
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