Published Tuesday, 24 July 2012
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Boris backs Ballymena
Interview: Ian Paisley
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In a letter to local MP Ian Paisley Jr, London Mayor Boris Johnson said he wanted a further 600 vehicles in service by 2016.
Wrightbus previously won a contract to supply the city with its new double-decker buses, and eight are currently on the streets of London.
Mr Paisley described Mr Johnson's letter as "very positive".
"This is a written commitment that he's going to do his best to ensure that manufacturing in Northern Ireland is sustained and assisted," he said.
"The fact that the Mayor of London has put this in writing just shows how far and how advanced these negotiations and this potential contract actually is that he's prepared to go public in a letter to me."
It's a massive commitment and it’s something that’s very positive in the current economic climate.
Ian Paisley Jr
Providing the 600 vehicles means a building contract of up to 2016, and it is expected that would be followed by a service and upgrade contract - extending the amount of time and cash Transport for London (TfL) would spend in the Co Antrim town.
The hybrid-electric buses use the latest green technology and were hand built by Wrightbus.
Mike Weston from TfL said there has been great public acclaim for London's newest bus.
"The Mayor remains committed to the roll out of 600 production vehicles between now and 2016, which represents good news for manufacturing jobs in Northern Ireland and the travelling public in London.
"TfL is in negotiations with Wrightbus and further details on the delivery of these buses will be revealed in due course."