Stagecoach has ‘no intention to bid for rail franchises’

Perth-based transport giant Stagecoach Group plc said on Wednesday it has “no intention to bid for new UK rail franchises” and will now focus on its bus and coach business as it faces losing out on three key rail contracts this year.

Stagecoach’s bids to renew existing East Midlands and West Coast rail franchises with its partners were disqualified for not complying with pension funding requests and the company was also left out of the South Eastern franchise.

The statement on rail came as Stagecoach announced results for the year ended April 27, 2019, showing a rise in pre-tax profit from continuing operations from £77.6 million to £101.2 million and revenue from continuing operations falling to £1.8 billion from £2.8 billion mainly due to its South West and East Coast franchises ending.

Stagecoach CEO Martin Griffiths said: “I am pleased to report good financial results as we reposition the business.

“We continue to focus on driving growth at our core high quality bus and coach operations in the UK, but we have no intention to bid for new UK rail franchises on the current risk profile offered by the Department for Transport.

“We have maintained our expectation of earnings per share for 2019/20.

“We have a critical role to play in tackling climate change and delivering cleaner air for our communities by enabling the switch of more journeys from car to public transport.

“As well as our significant investments in newer vehicle technologies, including hybrid and electric vehicles, new policy initiatives such as ‘mobility credits’ can help governments meet their ambitious targets.

“Our priority is to provide safe, high quality, value travel where every customer matters.

“We are leading the way in making travel easier for our customers through innovation and continued investment in our people, fleet and technology.

“Partnership working and new commercial initiatives are delivering positive results and high customer satisfaction.

“Mass transit has positive long-term growth prospects as governments are focused on growing the economy, connecting local communities, revitalising our town centres, combating road congestion and ensuring a healthier environment.”