A WELL-KNOWN York firm has been bought out.

Aberdeen-based bus company FirstGroup plc has signed an agreement to purchase York Pullman Bus Company Ltd.

York Pullman has five well-established brands and provides home-to-school and college contracted services and private hire operations including rail replacement services in and around York.

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It also operates a small number of local bus routes on behalf of several local authorities, complementary to the operations of First Bus in York.

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

Previously York Pullman Bus Co Ltd was bought in October 2009 by Tom and Maxine James, when it had a fleet of more than 60 vehicles.

The heritage of the company goes back to the 1920s and the name was resurrected in April 2007 by K&J Travel of York before being sold to the James family.

First says that buying the Rufforth -based company 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.”

Tom James, 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 will also contribute to the development of the First Bus coach services growth strategy.

He said: “This is an important step in the development of York Pullman to build on its success and ensure its sustainability for the future within FirstGroup, whilst retaining its identity and core values.”

Shares in FirstGroup rose 0.2 per cent to 169.50 pence each in London on Friday morning.

For the year ended December 31, York Pullman reported revenues of £10 million and earnings before interest and tax of £2 million.