Trading update shows Summer bus revenue down at Stagecoach

Sir Brian Souter: Regional bus arm suffered a fall
Sir Brian Souter: Regional bus arm suffered a fall
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Revenue pressures at Stagecoach’s UK bus operations have continued since the spring, a new trading update from the Perth-based transport group noted yesterday.

Founder chairman Sir Brian Souter, who owns more than 15 per cent of the company, said that Stagecoach’s UK regional bus arm suffered a 0.4 per cent fall in revenues in the 16 weeks to 19 August.

Revenues at the London bus operations were down 0.1 per cent. “As we explained in our 2017 annual report, we have implemented targeted mileage reductions and selective fare rises in our UK bus regional operations, as we make changes to our services that we consider will support the long term success of the business,” Stagecoach said.

Meanwhile, the group said it had seen a “small net reduction” in bus contracts with Transport for London. “We continue to anticipate an increase in the rate of revenue decline later on in the year, reflecting the timing of contracts expiring,” it added.

During the period, Stagecoach’s UK rail revenues (excluding South West Trains) rose 3.8 per cent, while revenues at Virgin Rail Group lifted 4.4 per cent – “broadly consistent with the trends seen in the second half of the prior year”.

Stagecoach said it was continuing talks with the Department for Transport regarding the terms of its ongoing operation of the lossmaking Virgin Trains East Coast franchise.

The group’s profits fell more than 80 per cent last year after booking an £84 million charge to “provide for anticipated losses” on East Coast.