One of the most interesting bus operators in Central Scotland at the moment is McGill Scotland East. McGill took over operation of the Former First Scotland East franchise in September 2022, inheriting 257 buses in the process. By purchasing the Scotland East Franchise, McGill extended their reach as they already own McGills Scotland West, which is mainly based in the Inverclyde and Renfrewshire and Xplore Dundee, which covers the Dundee City area.
Routes and Depots
McGill Scotland East is split into 2 areas: Midland Bluebird and Eastern Scottish, both reviving heritage names and heritage liveries. Midland Bluebird is based at 3 depots: Larbert, Bannockburn and Balfron with Eastern Scottish being based at Livingston.
Livingston depot covers routes in West Lothian and Edinburgh, heading to places such as Shotts (North Lanarkshire), Fauldhouse, Whitburn, Blackridge, Armadale, Bathgate, Linlithgow, Balerno, Queensferry, Kirkliston and Deans
Larbert depot mainly covers routes around the Falkirk area to destinations such as Maddiston, Dunnipace, Bo'ness, Larbert, Grangemouth, Fankerton, Hallglen, Langlees, Forth Valley Hospital, Camelon, Denny, Slamannan, Edinburgh and Glasgow (via Cumbernauld).
Balfron depot mainly covers routes between Stirling and Glasgow via Balfron and Kippen or via Aberfoyle and Milngavie.
Bannockburn depot mainly covers routes around the Stirling area to destinations such as Cambusbarron, Callander, Alloa, Clackmannan, Cowie, Stirling University, St Ninnians, Raploch and Glasgow via Cumbernauld.
As mentioned before, McGill inherited 257 buses of various types from First, including the Bright Bus tours operation in Edinburgh. On taking over, McGills had to withdraw 120 of the inherited fleet as they were deemed unsuitable for service. Some of the fleet were returned to service after repairs, however a number of them were replaced by buses from the reserve and withdrawn fleets from the West of Scotland and Xplore Dundee operations.
The current fleet includes:
With it being early days in the new franchise and with buses having to be transferred in from other areas, there are a real mix of liveries on the fleet at the moment including
There are also various buses with route branding on them.
With the many bus types and liveries, McGills Scotland East are an interesting company to follow and ride on at the moment! It is best to take the opportunity to do this just now before the inevitable newer, more uniform buses come along and more of the new livery is seen!
Some examples of the current liveries are shown below, more can be found at: https://scottishtrains.zenfolio.com/p1057977495
Most of my Photographs and sightings are from my favourite locations in the Lanarkshire area, including