The Bus Industry Performance 2019 results were recently released by Passenger Transport Monitor (PTM) and analysed the accounts of 107 operators around the country for the 2017/2018.
The report showed that profits earned by bus operators in Great Britain last year fell for the third year in a row.
The fall in profits follows the continual decline of passenger numbers, which has resulted in the loss of jobs and reduced investment levels.
The report also showed that operating profit was down 7.5%, while operating margins fell back to 6.2% from last year’s 6.7%, being the lowest level since 2006/7.
PTM reportedly estimated that operators need to earn 8% or more in order to meet financial obligations and further to this, invest for the future.
The report also noted:
• A fall of almost 20% in capital investment outside the capital, down £80m to £332m;
• A further 2% fall in employee numbers, meaning that 12,000 jobs have been lost since the start of the recession;
• New market share estimates confirm that Stagecoach is still the market leader by turnover with 21.5%. Go-Ahead Group is now second with 15.4%, closely followed by Arriva on 15.3%. Outside London, Stagecoach has a share of almost 26%, with FirstGroup still second on 21%; and
• Bus operators in the North East of England earned the highest level of profit in 2017/18 at 10.1%, followed by the West Midlands on 7.9%. Margins in the South West were the lowest in the country, on 2.6%.
Chris Cheek, the author of the report’s editorial said that the decline is due to: “Economic and social changes (for example, the fall in high street footfall as shopping shifts online).”
He concluded however: “It is easy to glimpse the possibility of a bright future for the bus in the UK – it is much more difficult, though, to plot a course towards reaching it.”
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