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Our markets

We believe that pubic transport is best provided locally. Each local transport market is unique and each requires a tailored approach to help it deliver local objectives.

We create shareholder value for our stakeholders through our three core operating divisions: regional bus; London bus and rail. 

Our current bus and rail businesses operate predominantly in the UK, however we began operating bus services in Singapore in September 2016. Passenger demand for public transport services sees considerable variation across local markets reflecting differences in socio-demographic factors, the relative attractiveness of alternative modes of transport, as well as wider transport policy and government expenditure. 

Our operations are located in high density commuter markets, where there is strong demand for public transport.

Regional bus

We operate commercial bus businesses, predominantly in the south of England Outside London, we have operations in Brighton, Oxford, Plymouth, East Anglia, on the south coast and in north east England. We own 100% of these businesses.

Key market features:

  • outside London
  • services operated on a largely commercial basis
  • accountable to the traffic commissioner and other industry bodies
  • work in partnership with local authorities to meet the needs of our communities
  • comprises local markets with unique features
  • mainly private operators, some local authority owned operations
  • operators largely make their own decisions, such as setting bus fares, routes and service frequencies
  • some tendered services are run on behalf of councils, such as school contracts
  • operators have a relatively flexible cost base which can be adapted to mitigate external factors

London bus

We operate tendered contracts for Transport for London (TfL) In London, we operate around 190 routes from 17 depots in the capital. Around 85% of these depots are freehold. We own 100% of this business.

Key market features:

  • in London
  • services operated for TfL which sets routes and service frequency
  • fares set by the Mayor of London
  • private operators bid for individual route contracts
  • revenue paid to operators by TfL on a revenue per mile basis
  • five to seven year contracts, dependent on performance
  • gross cost contracts require tight control of cost base


We operate rail franchises for the Department for Transport (DfT) Go-Ahead currently operates three UK rail franchises (GTR, Southeastern and London Midland) through Govia, a 65% owned joint venture with Keolis.

Key market features:

  • regulated by the Office of Rail Regulation (ORR) and other industry bodies
  • peak fares, routes and service frequencies set by the Government
  • existing franchises typically had initial contract terms of around eight years
  • the infrastructure is largely owned and managed by Network Rail
  • trains are leased from rolling stock operators
  • operators have a relatively fixed cost base, reducing flexibility to adapt to changes in the wider economy

New overseas business

We believe there is significant opportunity globally for the services we provide, and we actively monitor a range of markets for opportunities. In 2016 Go-Ahead won business in two overseas markets: Singapore and Germany. From September 2016 Go-Ahead will operate 25 bus routes in the Loyang district of Singapore. Singapore’s bus contracts system is largely modelled on London’s. The Loyang contract is awarded for five years with the option of a two-year extension based on good performance. Go-Ahead is also entering the German rail market, having been awarded Netz 1 Lot 2 and Lot 3 of the Baden-Wurttemberg rail network. The contracts begin in June 2019 and run until 2032.