Go-Ahead overall trading ‘robust’
‘Robust’ was how Go-Ahead described its trading in a pre-close trading update for the six months ending 27 December 2014. Overall revenue growth in the company’s regional bus business for the period was described as ‘good’, largely driven by increased contract revenue, where associated journeys are not recorded. Its commercial and concessionary passenger numbers have remained broadly flat year on year, with continuing weakness in the north east economy and the impact of significant roadworks in Oxford. Its revenue was up 4%. In Tyne & Wear, the Group continues to believe that a voluntary partnership agreement is a better outcome for passengers and taxpayers, rather than the proposals for a bus contract scheme currently are being considered by the Quality Contract Scheme (QCS) Board.
Go-Ahead’s London operations’ revenue grew around 3% and continues to be impacted by the reallocation of BSOG. Revenue in this part of the company’s business was up 3%, whilst mileage went down 2.5%. Full year mileage growth is expected to be broadly flat as it is expected to increase in the second half of the year with the introduction of known contract wins.
Group Chief Executive of Go-Ahead, David Brown, said, ‘Overall trading in the year to date has been robust, with a solid performance in our bus and rail operations. Our full year expectations for both divisions remain unchanged. We remain committed to improving the passenger experience and making it as easy as possible for people to use our services. Go-Ahead has the largest smartcard scheme outside of London and, in January 2015, will be introducing a multi-operator smartcard in the north east. In October, we announced a joint initiative with the UK’s other major bus operators to deliver multi-operator smart ticketing to millions of bus customers across England. In the last five years, we have grown our regional bus network, enabling 15% more journeys to be taken on our services. Over the same period, we have invested more than £170m in our regional bus services and achieved some of the highest levels of customer satisfaction in the industry, including our best ever score of 92% in the latest independent survey. Working collaboratively with industry partners and local authorities we always seek to deliver the best value for passengers, taxpayers and shareholders.’