Gillig bus manufacturer set to open June 1

LIVERMORE — One of the biggest bus manufacturers in the United States, Gillig, has left Hayward for good for its new headquarters in Livermore.

The 127-year-old business operated out of Hayward for more than 80 years, and will transfer its manufacturing plant to the 168-acre Oak Business Park in Livermore. The company’s last day in Hayward is Friday, although its grand opening in Livermore will be on June 1.

Gillig President Derek Maunus said in a time when manufacturers are moving out of state, or even out of country, Gillig wanted to maintain its headquarters within the Bay Area.

“We made a conscious decision to stay right here,” he said. “It’s the team that’s gotten us here … trying to replace that would be a huge mistake.”

Gillig outgrew its facility in Hayward, and although company officials looked elsewhere within that city, they found the right spot in Livermore. About 40 percent of the company’s employees work on the other side of the Altamount Pass, while a quarter or so live in Hayward, so Livermore was the perfect middle ground, Maunus said.

In Livermore, Gillig built a 600,000-square-foot main facility, as well as two smaller structures — a 50,000-square-foot building used for fabrication and assembly and a 27,000 square-foot facility to prepare the buses for delivery. The complex is within the office park at West Jack London Boulevard and Discovery Drive, and will bring about 850 jobs to the area. There are currently about 50 open positions, the president said.

But even with the additional workforce coming into Livermore each day, Maunus said the impacts to traffic would be minimal thanks to the early morning shifts of the bus-making facility.

Shifts generally start at 5 a.m. and end around 1 p.m., meaning workers would be arriving in non-commute hours, he said.

Gillig is the last bus company wholly owned and made in America, and produces 1,800 buses a year. It has provided about half of the fleet of AC Transit’s 600…

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