BRITISH bus and rail operator Go-Ahead said first-quarter trading rose as drivers turned to public transport to avoid rising motoring costs, although it remained cautious about the medium-term wider economic outlook.
Go-Ahead said revenues at its non-London bus unit, which includes services in Oxford and Brighton, were four per cent higher in the period to 26 October but passenger numbers remained flat compared with the same period last year. Bus revenues in London were marginally up.
Passenger revenues across the group’s three rail franchises Southern, Southeastern and London Midland rail franchises all rose between eight and twelve per cent.
Chief executive David Brown told reporters that a 20 per cent increase in the cost of car insurance and a surge in fuel prices was driving growth at a time when Britons’ incomes are squeezed by rising prices, muted wage growth and government austerity measures.
“We want a vibrant economy because a vibrant economy means people will travel more but there is a tightening of belts amongst people and the common theme would be if you’ve got a second car, you get rid of the second car,” Brown said.
Shares rose 1.23 per cent, closing at 1,396p yesterday.