Northern Ireland

Ballymena company Wrightbus gets order for 179 buses

a wrightbus
Image caption Wrightbus employs about 1,000 people

Ballymena company Wrightbus has won an order for 179 buses from the biggest bus and rail operator in the UK.

The £28m order is for 179 of the Ballymena company's smaller lightweight buses.

The StreetLite range has been developed entirely by Wrightbus.

Managing director Mark Nodder said this was a "new era" for the company as it was now designing, developing and building buses from scratch.

The order will require investment in a new chassis building facility, but overall job numbers at the Ballymena company are not significantly affected.

Wrightbus employs about 1,000 people in the bus division with another 400 in related companies.

The company has been making buses for FirstGroup for 17 years and this is the latest in a long line of orders.

Last year it signed a £41m deal to supply 550 double-decker buses to Singapore.

But its biggest deal is pending from Transport for London in an expected order for 600 so-called Boris Buses - the modern replacement for the iconic routemaster - now named after the London Mayor.

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