National Express has seen UK coach revenue rise by 87 per cent on the previous year, as rail strikes see passengers opt for alternative transport.
Passenger growth at National Express also rose despite the six-day bus driver strike and a higher-than-expected pay settlement of 16.2% per cent in February.
Reflecting strong financial performance, National Express has bolstered its electric bus fleet by 170 to become the largest of its type in the UK.
Total UK revenue grew by 27 per cent on the first quarter, higher than the total Q1 revenues of 25 per cent from £153.9m to £774.4m, reflecting an overall performance in line with expectations.
Ignacio Garat, group chief executive, said: “I am pleased to report another quarter of progress at National Express with Group revenues in-line with expectations, albeit affected by the bus driver strike in the UK, and recognising that the most significant trading periods for our US School Bus and UK and Spanish coach operations still lie ahead.
“Given ongoing industry and economic uncertainties, we have launched a wide-ranging productivity improvement and cost-reduction programme that will start to deliver benefits in the second half of this year. That initiative will also help to ensure we deploy the right resource most efficiently across the business and capitalise on the significant opportunities for growth that we face.”
The group’s German Rail also delivered strong growth, after it was issued £1bn contract to operate two regional train lines in the German state of North Rhine-Westphalia.
Last month online rail ticketing business Trainline has said annual ticket sales fell short of expectations, as rail strikes left it nursing a hit of up to £6m a day.
The group said ongoing industrial action on UK railways cost it £5m to £6 m in gross sales.