Rail and bus firms deliver revenue gains

Marion Dakers
TRANSPORT firms Stagecoach and National Express reported rising ticket sales yesterday as commuters looking to avoid the high cost of cars turn to buses and trains.

Underlying revenue at Stagecoach’s domestic rail business, which includes South West Trains, grew 8.7 per cent in the 24 weeks to 16 October, while Virgin Rail Group, a joint venture in which Stagecoach owns 49 per cent, saw a 9.7 per cent sales jump.

National Express, which operates the c2c and East Anglia routes, said third-quarter revenue at its UK rail division grew six per cent.

The firm said a jump in passengers using Oyster cards on its routes more than offset the lower yields from Oyster-discounted journeys.

Sales at the UK bus businesses of National Express and Stagecoach grew around two per cent.

But both firms performed better overseas, with Stagecoach’s US coach operations posted a 12 per cent leap in like-for-like revenue while revenue at National Express’s America school bus business rose 10 per cent.

Shares in National Express closed down 1.9 per cent to 225.8p yesterday, faring slightly better than the rest of the FTSE 250, while Stagecoach dropped four per cent to 238.3p.