National Express passenger number recovering

Revenue for bus and coach group National Express, which operates services in the West Midlands, was up 83 per cent on 2019 performance in the three months to the end of September.

National Express is seeing passengers return to its coah services
National Express is seeing passengers return to its coah services

In the UK bus passenger numbers are now at 76 per cent of pre-Covid levels.

The Birmingham-based group says that whilst there are ongoing shortages of drivers across the sectors in which it operates it is minimising the impact on revenue and tightly controlling costs.

Wages and fuel account for 70 per cent of the National Express cost base, but fuel is fully hedged through 2022 and into 2023 and wage settlements have been agreed across the business.

Chief executive Ignacio Garat said: "Due to the tremendous efforts of our colleagues across the group coupled with the support and cooperation of our customers across all of our markets, the trend of improving performance has continued through the third quarter.

"I am particularly grateful for the efforts of our colleagues in mitigating the industry-wide challenges of driver availability"

He said the group was focused on profitable growth with a strong pipeline of opportunities and recent contract wins in Spain and the UK.

It UK coach business is now operating 56 per cent of services compared to 37 per cent at the end of June. Passenger numbers are now up to 52 per cent of pre-Covid levels from 33 per cent in June

The recent fuel shortages in the UK had no impact on the businesses which had continuity of supply throughout.

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