Bridgestone and First Transit Parent Company Announce Global Fleet Partnership

CINCINNATI – Leading transport operator FirstGroup, parent company of First Transit, has signed a $110m, five-year deal with tire supplier Bridgestone.

The deal is FirstGroup’s first international procurement agreement for direct goods or services, and is also the largest commercial fleet contract in Bridgestone’s history.

The contract will see Bridgestone, the world’s largest tire manufacturer, supplying tires to more than 60,000 of FirstGroup’s buses and coaches in the US, Canada and the UK.

As part of the agreement Bridgestone will provide tires for all of FirstGroup’s vehicles in the UK and around 80-percent of its operations in the United States and Canada.

Glen Lovett, Group Procurement Manager for FirstGroup, said: “We are delighted to have this global contract with Bridgestone. Having first begun working together through a fleet agreement in Leicester, England, in 2004, we have seen significant achievements and built up a solid working relationship over many years.

“Many organizations – while global in nature – retain a regionalized market focus but Bridgestone were able to engage with FirstGroup on a global basis, enabling us to leverage our size and scale. This agreement will provide the flexibility that we need to manage a huge fleet of vehicles on both sides of the Atlantic, including our local buses, coach services and school transportation.”

In negotiating the contract, Bridgestone had to demonstrate flexibility to meet specific needs of the fleet, which will predominantly run on UAP-001 tires, featuring different tread patterns unique to each market.

Greg Ward, Commercial Sales Director for Bridgestone, said: “This is a hugely significant announcement for the whole team at Bridgestone and a partnership that we’re extremely proud of. To win the contract, we needed to demonstrate our value and ability to deliver on a global level in order to stave off stiff competition from a rival premium tire manufacturer.

“We had a strong goal to become the number one supplier to FirstGroup and, as such, we demonstrated an ability to act as a global company with a ‘one team’ philosophy, meaning that the geographical distance between our US and UK teams was never an issue.”

About FirstGroup:
FirstGroup plc is a leading transport operator in the UK and North America. With £5.7 billion in revenue and more than 100,000 employees, we transported around two billion passengers last year. Each of our five divisions is a leader in its field: In North America, First Student is the largest provider of student transportation with a fleet of around 44,000 yellow school buses, First Transit is one of the largest providers of outsourced transit management and contracting services, while Greyhound is the only nationwide operator of scheduled intercity coaches.

In the UK, First Bus is one of Britain's largest bus operators, transporting 1.6 million passengers a day, and we are one of the country's most experienced rail operators, carrying around 130 million passengers last year. Our vision is to provide solutions for an increasingly congested world... keeping people moving and communities prospering.

About First Transit:
First Transit, Inc.has 60 years of experience and is one of the largest private-sector providers of mobility solutions in North America moving more than 350 million passengers annually. First Transit, Inc. provides operation, management and consulting for more than 300 locations in 39 states, Canada, Puerto Rico, Panama and India for transit authorities, state departments of transportation, municipalities, hospitals, universities and private companies. First Transit employs more than 19,500 dedicated transit professionals. For additional information, please visit FirstTransit.com.

About Bridgestone:
The largest manufacturer of tyres and rubber products worldwide, Bridgestone leads the way in quality, technologically innovative goods and services and is a trusted brand that goes from strength to strength.

Established in 1931 in the small town of Kurume, Japan on the island of Kyushu by its founder Shojiro Ishibashi, today it is a multi-billion-pound business with 178 manufacturing plants, in 25 countries and a presence in over 150 markets worldwide.

Always seeking to be the best at what it does, Bridgestone is focused on its mission of “serving society with superior quality” through an enviable range of products that satisfy the needs of the customer and society as a whole.