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First South Yorkshire
Sheffield Wright Gemini.jpg
Wright Eclipse Gemini in the new First Sheffield livery at Sheffield Interchange, 2020
HeadquartersAbbey Lane, Leicester
Service areaDoncaster
North East Derbyshire
Peak District
Service typeBus services
Fleet496 (May 2017)
Chief executiveNigel Eggleton

First South Yorkshire[1] is a major bus operator providing bus services within and across South Yorkshire. It is a subsidiary of FirstGroup.


Main article: South Yorkshire Transport

Alexander bodied Dennis Dominator at Sheffield bus station, 1998
Alexander bodied Dennis Dominator at Sheffield bus station, 1998
Plaxton President bodied Dennis Trident 2 at Sheffield Interchange in 2013
Plaxton President bodied Dennis Trident 2 at Sheffield Interchange in 2013
Wright Eclipse Gemini 2 bodied Volvo B9TL in the new Doncaster livery at Meadowhall Interchange in June 2021
Wright Eclipse Gemini 2 bodied Volvo B9TL in the new Doncaster livery at Meadowhall Interchange in June 2021

In 1989, South Yorkshire Transport introduced the Mainline brand on certain bus routes around South Yorkshire. Buses operated with Sheffield Mainline names in a bright red and yellow livery, replacing the previous "coffee and cream" livery. It was followed by Doncaster Mainline in a silver grey and red livery relieved by a light yellow band and finally Rotherham Mainline, whose buses were painted blue and yellow.[2][3] In 1992, the local brands were dropped and Mainline became the standard fleetname across the company's operating area. A common red and yellow livery with silver and blue bands was introduced.[4]

In November 1993, Mainline was sold to its employees in a management buyout.[5] Shortly after, Stagecoach Holdings purchased a 20% stake in the company, however this was ordered to be sold in 1995 to FirstBus.[6]

In 1998, FirstGroup purchased the remaining 80% shareholding and renamed the business First Mainline.[7][8] Buses were repainted in a simplified red and yellow livery, reminiscent of the original 1989 Sheffield Mainline livery. In 2000 First Mainline was rebranded as First South Yorkshire and the corporate light grey, blue and pink livery introduced.[citation needed]

In 2013, First South Yorkshire began to paint buses into First's new Olympia corporate livery, which is an updated version of the former livery. At the same time, the individual First Sheffield, First Rotherham, First Doncaster and First X78 brands were introduced. The First X78 brand was superseded by the Steel Link brand in 2015, while the First Rotherham brand was retired with the closure of the Rotherham depot in 2017.[citation needed]

The operations of First South Yorkshire and First Midlands, consisting of First Potteries, First Leicester and First Worcester, merged on 1 June 2020 to form First South Yorkshire and Midlands. The new company would be managed by First Midlands CEO, Nigel Eggleton. The aim of this merger was to revitalise bus services in both merger regions, following a period of poor customer service by First South Yorkshire.[9][10]


First South Yorkshire operate services in Doncaster, Rotherham and Sheffield. Due to bus services history and number changes, some routes share service numbers within South Yorkshire.

Route X78 is an express service which runs from Sheffield Interchange to Doncaster Frenchgate Interchange via Meadowhall, Rotherham and Conisbrough. In 2016, 22 Wright Streetdecks, some of which were originally intended for the Steel Link, were placed in service on the X78 as part of an initiative to improve Rotherham's bus services.[11]

In September 2016, Steel Link X1 express route commenced operating from Sheffield to Maltby via the Bus Rapid Transit North scheme. Eighteen Wright Streetdecks with high-specification interiors were purchased for the service.[12][13][14]

First South Yorkshire also operate Peak District services 271 and 272, from Sheffield, across the South Yorkshire boundary and into Derbyshire in the Peak District. In 2021, a double-decker bus was branded in green 'Peak Link' livery for these services.[15]


As of May 2017, First South Yorkshire's fleet consists of 496 buses.[16][needs update]

Following the First South Yorkshire and Midlands merger in 2020, new liveries and brands were introduced for the First Sheffield and First Doncaster fleets. The first to be introduced was Doncaster's Clever Buses in August 2020, utilising eight acquired Volvo B7RLE Wright Eclipse Urban buses on the 66 route in Doncaster, with the 'clever' aspect of the name referencing new contactless payment systems that were being introduced across the fleet.[17]

In December 2020, two new liveries to be applied across the Sheffield and Doncaster fleets were revealed. The new First Sheffield livery is predominantly blue and cream with chrome elements referencing Sheffield's steel heritage, with some buses carrying livery variants referencing Sheffield's snooker and music heritage. First Doncaster's new livery follows a similar layout with red and cream with purple elements. Both liveries reference the former liveries of Sheffield and Doncaster's municipal bus companies before they were absorbed into the South Yorkshire Passenger Transport Executive in 1974.[18][19]


First South Yorkshire vehicles operate from two depots. These are Olive Grove in Sheffield, and Leger Way in Doncaster.

Sheffield's Olive Grove depot is the second biggest bus depot in the UK after First Glasgow's Caledonia depot, which can hold 450 buses.[citation needed] As of May 2017, 318 buses are based at Olive Grove depot.[16][needs update]

Bus services in Rotherham and surrounding areas were previously operated out of the former Midland Road depot in east Rotherham. Having previously been contracted with refurbishing over 200 of London Buses' AEC Routemasters when operated by South Yorkshire Transport,[20] the engineering works of this depot was used as the FirstGroup's Commercial Unit following the company's purchase in 1998. Buses and coaches across the group would be sent to the Midland Road works for refurbishment, repairs and repainting.[21] In 2016, however, it was announced that the depot and Commercial Unit were to close in February 2017, with Rotherham's bus services being relocated to Olive Grove and Leger Way depots. At the time of closure, 90 buses were based at Midland Road.[22][23]


  1. ^ Companies House extract company no 2332529 First South Yorkshire Limited formerly Mainline Group Limited formerly The Hallam Bus Company Limited
  2. ^ "Double-deckers battle". Commercial Motor. Temple Press. 22 June 1989. p. 18. Retrieved 5 October 2021.
  3. ^ "Mainline in Doncaster". Commercial Motor. Temple Press. 20 September 1990. p. 18. Retrieved 5 October 2021.
  4. ^ "SYT rebranding operations in run-up to privatisation". Coach & Bus Week. No. 19. Peterborough: Emap. 27 June 1992. p. 6.
  5. ^ South Yorkshire Transport Authority Sells Off Bus Company to Staff Local Government Chronicle 18 November 1993
  6. ^ "FirstBus takes over Stagecoach stake". Coach & Bus Week. No. 201. Peterborough: Emap. 20 January 1996. p. 6.
  7. ^ "FirstBus gets green light". The Herald. Glasgow. 3 January 1996. Retrieved 6 October 2021.
  8. ^ "Investment Column: FirstGroup can travel further". The Independent. London. 1 June 1998. Retrieved 6 October 2021.
  9. ^ Walsh, David (3 June 2020). "Bosses replaced in Sheffield bus company turnaround plan". The Star. Retrieved 3 June 2020.
  10. ^ "First Bus combines Midlands and South Yorkshire units". RouteOne. 5 June 2020. Retrieved 22 January 2022.
  11. ^ "£7m for Rotherham buses". Bus & Coach Buyer. 25 February 2016. Retrieved 22 January 2022.
  12. ^ Steel Link service for new £29.8 million BRT scheme Archived 15 September 2016 at the Wayback Machine Bus & Coach Professional 8 September 2016
  13. ^ "Steel city's £30m link starts". RouteOne. 6 September 2016. Retrieved 22 January 2022.
  14. ^ "First redeploys fleet for South Yorkshire's first BRT". Buses. No. 739. October 2016. p. 9.
  15. ^ Lidstone, John G.; et al. (9 June 2021). "In Fleet News this month". Buses. Stamford: Key Publishing. Retrieved 22 January 2022. Similar 37494 (YN58 ERX) carries a twotone green and cream livery with Sheffield's Peak Link branding for service 272 (Sheffield-Castleton).(subscription required)
  16. ^ a b "First South Yorkshire fleetlist". Sheffield Omnibus Enthusiasts Society.
  17. ^ "Doncaster Clever Buses mark start of First's South Yorkshire overhaul". RouteOne. 5 August 2020. Retrieved 22 January 2022.
  18. ^ "New identity for First in Sheffield". Coach & Bus Week. Peterborough: Emap. 3 November 2020. Retrieved 22 January 2022.
  19. ^ Welch, Jonathan (8 December 2020). "Revitalising South Yorkshire". Coach & Bus Week. Peterborough: Emap. Retrieved 22 January 2022.(subscription required)
  20. ^ "RM is reborn at last". Coach & Bus Week. No. 3. Peterborough: Emap. 7 March 1992. p. 13.
  21. ^ Evans, Gareth (23 December 2014). "In the works". Coach & Bus Week. No. 1169. Peterborough: Emap. pp. 24–28. Retrieved 22 January 2022.
  22. ^ "First proposes to close depot at Rotherham". RouteOne. 18 October 2016. Retrieved 22 January 2022.
  23. ^ Austern, Tom (12 October 2016). "First set to close Rotherham depot". Rotherham Business News. Retrieved 22 January 2022.