Thursday, 15 May 2008

First Group are doing rather well

Latest profits from First Group. Their annual operating profits in the year to March 31 were up 39 per cent on a year earlier. In the UK business, passenger revenues grew five per cent last year, while operating profits rose 18.4 per cent to £122m. So they're either charging passengers 5% more or have got 5% more passengers or a combination of both - but presumably spending less on the service? How else could you explain the rise in profits? "Efficiency savings"?

I'm meeting the new MD of First Bus next Friday. I've spoke to him on the phone, and think he may just be someone who is prepared to take complaints seriously and actually do something to improve the service - but we'll see. (Incidentally, it was noteable that of the MPs on the Local Transport Bill committee, at least four of us on the Labour side had bus services run by First - and my colleagues from Manchester and Sheffield were none too impressed with the service either). Now that the Bill committee is over I'm hoping that Rosie Winterton will get round to looking at the Greater Bristol Bus Network bid, and give us the £42m we've been waiting for - I'll keep chasing!

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