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The Pioneer

Hayward bus company set to relocate to Livermore

Photo Courtesy of Gillig Corporation

Louis LaVenture,
Editor-in-Chief

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Gillig Corporation, the heavy duty passenger bus manufacturer will call Livermore home by May, with an exact date not yet determined, according to Director of Publications Arminder Dhillon.

The Gillig executive team and owners made the decision to move to a new, larger facility in 2014 with a move date set for 2017, according to Dhillon.

According to Gillig, the 120-year-old company hasn’t always called Hayward home, it originally opened as a carriage builder and upholsterer in San Francisco in 1890 by Jacob Gillig. After patenting a roof and side curtain window system for a car in 1919, the Gillig business, now joined by Jacob’s sons Leo and Chester, eventually the family turned their attention to bus making, which they began in 1932. According to Gillig, by 1938 the business outgrew its San Francisco facility and relocated to its current location on Clawiter Road in West Hayward.

That location has been the home for Gillig for the past 79 years, however, history repeated itself in 2014 when the company realized they were outgrowing their current Hayward facility, according to Dhillon.

Several employees confirmed off the record they were told nearly two years ago. The price tag for the new facility is still a mystery and Dhillon said since the company is a privately owned organization, they do not have to disclose that information.

Gillig has been at the forefront of the industry when it comes to producing environmentally friendly buses. In 2002, they released their first hybrid model and in 2004, they produced a hydrogen fuel-cell bus aimed to to test the viability of clean-fuel technology. After more research, Gillig created a Hybrid start-stop technology bus that turned the engine off while idling, used only electric propulsion and produced zero emissions when the battery was sufficiently charged, according to Gillig.

The Hayward-based bus company is just one of 315 in the world and the only other major one in North America along with New Flyer Industries Inc. in Canada, according to Forbes.

Dhillon said the company could have seeked a new residence out of state, however, they chose to keep it in state, despite a much cheaper cost if they moved out of California. The facility is brand new, built from the ground up and according to Dhillon it has a, “Purposed design, larger facility, laid out more efficiently, slat conveyor moving assembly line and custom designed toolings and fixtures.” While there are no new plans or projects on the horizon, Dhillon said the primary purpose of the move was for “Capacity and efficiencies.”

Dhillon said the area in Hayward is a “prime piece of real estate” and at some point the site would “likely be developed” by another company.

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Hayward bus company set to relocate to Livermore