FirstGroup’s UK bus division today launched ‘Better Journeys for Life’, a new brand promise which sets out the group’s aims and plans, which will involve working more closely with all stakeholders including customers, staff and external partners.

The group says that its networks are the life blood of local communities up and down the country, where the company is not just a transport provider but also a major local business and employer. “With the current economic challenges, there has never been a more important time to work with local partners and communities to deliver the services our customers need now and in the future,” said FirstGroup in a statement.

One of the first visible signs will be a new ‘refreshed’ livery which is being rolled out on First bus fleet across the UK (excluding London) in the next few weeks. This is the first stage in the company’s fleet modernization programme which gains momentum in 2012/13.

The new livery will have a standard template, however, there will be flexibility for local teams to customize certain areas of the vehicle’s exterior to prominently show town and city names or route specific identities – fitting in with the group’s desire to provide local services for local communities.

New vehicles coming into the fleet in 2012/13 will feature not only the new livery but a range of internal changes, including redesigned interiors and leather seats.

The new local livery will progressively be rolled out as part of First’s five-year ongoing paint programme. There is some ‘fast track’ painting which will be used to highlight route developments on key bus corridors around the UK. The first buses in the new livery will be seen in places including Yorkshire, Manchester and Southampton over the next few months.

First is also developing a new blueprint for the way the business operates, which will be a key factor underpinning its strategy for sustained long term growth. The ‘Blueprint for Growth Programme’ will contain a number of key workstreams to drive improved efficiency and service quality. Local teams are designing new processes and are busy devising and implementing actions to bring the Blueprint to life.

Giles Fearnley, First UK Bus managing director, said: “Following months of preparation, we have hit the ground running at the start of 2012 and I am delighted to announce a number of exciting new projects that will make a real difference to the way First carries out its business this year and beyond.

“We are all aware that we face a number of difficult challenges to the business but I am determined that First will tackle these challenges head on with bold and innovative business ideas.”

“The new livery, which allows for local identity, is just the first step in our vehicle modernization programme and is a signal that we are changing. Over the next year, hundreds of new vehicles in the new livery will enter service to benefit new or existing customers and allow us to grow the bus network.”

“Our Brand Promise shows we are committed to deliver ‘Better Journeys for Life’ by placing our stakeholders at the heart of everything we do. We recognise that some long term changes are necessary and these will take time to deliver and embed. However we know that by working in close co-operation with all of our stakeholders, and providing the necessary investment, our business will develop and grow.”

FirstGroup are currently recruiting for senior management at its bus operations in the South West. Click here for details.

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