York Pullman agrees sale of the business to FirstGroup plc

York Pullman Bus Company Ltd has agreed a sale of the business to FirstGroup plc, the listed company which operates First Bus, the second-largest bus operator in the country.

The acquisition of our business is anticipated to be completed over the next few weeks, subject to customary regulatory review.

York Pullman is a high-performing business which also comprises five other well-established brands in the provision of coach services.

Together, these give York Pullman strong offerings in regional and business to business operations in York and the surrounding areas of North Yorkshire and into West Yorkshire.

York Pullman is predominantly a provider of home to school and college contracted services and private hire operations including rail replacement. It also operates open-top bus tours serving York’s thriving visitor and leisure market, while a small number of local bus routes operated on behalf of several local authorities are complementary to First Bus operations in York.


Tom James, Founder and Managing Director of York Pullman, will remain with the company and continue to run it on a standalone basis with support from the existing York Pullman team alongside the First Bus executive team. He said:

“We’ve enjoyed strong growth for more than a decade and established York Pullman as the leading name in coach and private hire services in York and the wider North Yorkshire area. This has been achieved with a brilliant and talented team in all departments.

“Becoming part of a larger group will enable us to continue to build on our significant strengths and grow the business further with access to additional resources and experience.”

The business has a mixed fleet of more than 130 vehicles with varying passenger capacity which has enabled it to attract a broad range of customers.

The acquisition of the York Pullman business will both enhance FirstGroup’s operational footprint in North Yorkshire and provide growth opportunities in adjacent markets and development of its private hire capability.


Graham Sutherland, FirstGroup Chief Executive Officer, said:

“A key pillar of our strategy is to grow and diversify our portfolio. The acquisition of York Pullman – a long-established, high-performing business – fits well with our strategy as it will both enhance the First Bus operational footprint in North Yorkshire and expand our adjacent services business, where we are looking to grow our presence.

“We look forward to welcoming Tom and the York Pullman employees to the Group.