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Our markets

Through our three operating divisions, we have delivered value for our stakeholders for three decades and are now using this experience to expand into international transport markets.

Regional bus

This market comprises all our UK bus operations outside London. While most services are operated on a commercial basis, some tendered services, such as school bus contracts, are operated on behalf of local authorities. Operators are responsible for their own vehicles and depots, as well as setting routes, fares and service frequency.

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

Transport for London (TfL) tenders contracts to bus operators which run individual bus routes in London for five to seven years. Operators, which are responsible for their own vehicles and depots, are paid through gross cost contracts on a revenue per mile basis. TfL sets routes and service frequency, while the Mayor of London is responsible for setting fares.

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

Rail

Within this market, train operators run rail services through contracts tendered by the Department for Transport (DfT). While contracts have some similar features, they can vary in scale, scope and length. Trains are leased and rail infrastructure is largely owned and managed by Network Rail, with train operators paying for access. The Government is responsible for setting peak fares, routes and service frequency.

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

International development

We have three decades of experience operating complex transport networks in the UK so we’re in an excellent position to leverage that expertise in new international markets, offering considerable value to customers and tendering authorities. We robustly assess all opportunities against criteria to achieve a balance of risk, reward and capital intensity that fits within our established business model. We’re focused on markets with stable political economies that are in line with our approach to corporate ethics, and where there’s appetite for public transport use. We’re making good progress in our target markets, having won contracts in Singapore, Germany and Ireland.