There has been a warm welcome for news that around 300 manufacturing jobs in the Ballymena area and the wider ‘supply chain’ across Northern Ireland have been secured.
The Mayor of Mid and East Antrim Borough, Councillor Billy Ashe this week said he was delighted with the news of a multimillion pound deal between Transport for London (TfL) and family-owned Wrightbus for nearly 200 New Routemaster buses.
Cllr Ashe said: “The £62 million contract was confirmed during a visit to the chassis plant by London Mayor Boris Johnson and Secretary of State for Northern Ireland Theresa Villiers.
“The new order for Routemasters – widely recognised as a classic of contemporary public transportation design – means that the London fleet will grow to just short of 1,000 by summer 2017. That has to be good news for the Borough,” he said.
The production of 1,000 New Routemaster buses in Northern Ireland by the Wrightbus Group, which employs 2,000 local people, has sustained 300 jobs, created 100 brand new jobs and supported 120 apprenticeships.
Speaking in Ballymena, the Mayor of London Boris Johnson MP said: “I am absolutely delighted to be able to confirm a further order for these superb buses.
“They are a masterpiece of British engineering and design, and they prove that we are capable of building a bus in the UK with cutting edge technology that simultaneously delivers jobs and growth around the country.”
The London Mayor and the Secretary of State, Theresa Villiers also visited glazing experts and TfL suppliers Windell Ltd of Magherafelt, before meeting staff at plastics specialists Boomer Industries Ltd, Lisburn who supply materials for the new Routemaster.