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McGill Buses: Owners Easdale brothers invest over £10 million into ‘declining’ Xplore Dundee

The Easdale brothers are pledging to restore the company with significant investment.
The Easdale brothers are pledging to restore the company with significant investment.

The owners of a Dundee bus firm have invested more than £10 million into the recently-acquired Xplore Dundee.

In December last year, Greenock-based McGill’s Buses acquired Xplore Dundee, which was previously owned by National Express.

McGill’s was founded in 2001 and is owned by Sandy and James Easdale, who have been Rangers FC shareholders since 2013.

Plans to grow the business

They have made a multi-million pound investments in the business. These include through new electric and hydrogen vehicles.

The company is investing more than £5 million to help improve the city’s air.

Twelve electric emeralds vehicles will arrive in Dundee later this year in a move supported by the Scottish Government’s Ultra Low Emission Bus Scheme.

Xplore Dundee is also investing in a further 12 Electric Emeralds, which should arrive by the autumn.

Sandy Easdale said: “We hope to grow the business.

James and Sandy Easdale.

“It’s been going backwards for the last 10 or 15 years.

“We hope to make it more sustainable for the people of Dundee with focused investment.”

McGill’s chairman James Easdale said: “The tough trading times had seen the decline of the business and for National Express, it was maybe a case of ‘out of sight, out of mind’.

“We’re going to invest in it and we have done already.

“We’ll bring it back to where it should be.

“That will mean better buses and better service.”

Service relaunch and more staff needed

The firm also hopes to add to its 350-strong Dundee-based workforce.

Last month, Xplore relaunched its X90 service, the direct link with Edinburgh Airport.

Sandy and James Easdale, of McGill's Buses, with the Dundee to Edinburgh Airport bus service.
Sandy and James Easdale with the Dundee to Edinburgh Airport bus service.

Managing director Christine McGlasson said: “Prior to the pandemic the X90 was extremely popular and I really hope that as more and more travel is allowed by the government that we will soon see customer demand increasing.”

On the recruitment front, Sandy added: “We are looking and advertising for staff at the moment.

“We hope to hire between 40 and 50 new people in the coming months.”

Forward-thinking and open to suggestions

And when it comes to the services they offer, the brothers – who retain their shareholding in Rangers despite having stepped away from active roles at the Ibrox club – are keen to be as flexible as possible.

“We come with flexibility and we act straightaway. If people come to us with an idea, we’ll see if we can do it.

Sandy Easdale and his brother James, McGill's Buses chairman.
Sandy Easdale and his brother James, McGills Buses chairman.

“Commercial realities do have to work, so we’ve got to be pragmatic about it.

“If the people of Dundee use the service, we’ll provide it.”

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