NatEx coach revenue up 87% in Q1
Coach revenue in the UK at National Express was up 87% in the first quarter of 2023, compared to the same period last year.
According to the company’s trading update for the period 1 January 2023 to 31 March 2023, revenue across the group was £774.4m, up £153.9m (25%) compared to 2022.
In the UK, revenue grew by 27% in the first quarter. The 87% rise in scheduled coach revenue on the prior year reflects the recovery from the Covid-related network shutdown in prior year and the impact of the rail strikes in the UK. During the quarter, the business was impacted by the now settled UK Bus drivers’ strike, and the associated pay settlement. While that pay settlement was higher than National Express expected, the operator says it is working internally, and with its partners Transport for West Midlands (TfWM), towards mitigating the impact of these and other cost increases.
In the first quarter of the year, National Express placed a firm order for 170 additional double-deck electric buses. The resulting fleet will be the largest of its type in the UK and includes an earlier order for 130 buses that are part of the UK Government’s ambitions to make Coventry the country’s first All-Electric Bus City by 2025.
“Given ongoing industry and economic uncertainties, we have launched a wide-ranging productivity improvement and cost-reduction programme that will start to deliver benefits in the second half of this year” – Ignacio Garat, Group Chief Executive
Ignacio Garat, Group Chief Executive, said: “I am pleased to report another quarter of progress at National Express with Group revenues in-line with expectations, albeit affected by the bus driver strike in the UK, and recognising that the most significant trading periods for our US School Bus and UK and Spanish coach operations still lie ahead.
“Given ongoing industry and economic uncertainties, we have launched a wide-ranging productivity improvement and cost-reduction programme that will start to deliver benefits in the second half of this year. That initiative will also help to ensure we deploy the right resource most efficiently across the business and capitalise on the significant opportunities for growth that we face.”