Book review

By Martin Helm

It is 20 years since a management and employee buy-out of Aberdeen’s municipal bus company established Grampian Regional Transport, laying the foundations for today’s international operator FirstGroup. Over that period the company has grown from 600 staff to more than 137 000, with bus, rail and tram operations across Europe and North America. Turnover has risen from £15m to £6bn. Commissioned to mark the company’s anniversary, this book has been written by former journalist Martin Helm, who headed the Department for Transport’s Information Division in the 1990s and now advises FirstGroup.

In 200 liberally-illustrated pages, Helm looks at the formation of GRT, and its founder Sir Moir Lockhead, who led the MBO and remains Chief Executive today. The story tracks the evolution of GRT and Badgerline to form FirstGroup,and its entry into the rail sector, where it is now operating around a quarter of all franchised passenger services in the UK. The story continues with expansion into Europe and North America, and concludes with a look ahead at FirstGroup’s vision for the future.

ISBN 978 1 85757 096 0

£25·00 from Granta Editions, 25-27 High Street, Chesterton, CB4 1ND, UK.