Shares of Perth-based transport giant Stagecoach Group rose about 11% on Tuesday after the firm issued a stock exchange statement on its response to the UK Government’s “restart programme for bus, tram and light rail operations in England.”
Stagecoach said it stood “ready to restore our services to closer to pre-COVID levels” and that bus operators “are also in discussions with the Scottish and Welsh Governments on how increases in bus services can be introduced in those parts of the UK.”
In its full statement, the company said: “Stagecoach Group plc notes the UK Government’s announcement of a bus, tram and light rail restart programme to facilitate a phased increased in local services in England.
“Normal bus, tram and light rail networks across the UK have been paused since March as part of the response to COVID-19.
“UK Government guidance to public transport operators in England on social distancing means that the current capacity of services and associated passenger revenue is significantly reduced.
“The Government has now confirmed it plans to pay for more comprehensive services.
“The Department for Transport (DfT) has announced that it is making available a further £254 million for buses and £29 million for trams and light rail to help increase the frequency and capacity of services as steps are taken to ease lockdown measures in England.
“The DfT has also confirmed that the funding will be kept under review.
“Discussions will continue between the Government and industry representatives regarding future arrangements, and we will assess the full detail of the Government’s plans as these are confirmed.”
Stagecoach CEO Martin Griffiths, said: “We are pleased that the Government has recognised the importance of safe and sustainable public transport now and for the future.
“We are uniquely placed to drive the country’s recovery, helping rebuild our regional economies, reconnect people and their families, and support the country’s long-term objectives around decarbonisation, improved air quality and better health.
“This funding is designed to help transition our public transport networks from lockdown to more normal levels.
“It is important the right level of resources remain in place to ensure public transport operators can continue to provide local communities with the services they need.
“With the comprehensive safety measures we have put in place and the support of our passengers and our employees, we stand ready to restore our services to closer to pre-COVID levels.
“We will continue to work with our local authority partners and other key stakeholders on making the best use of increased capacity.”