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Old 23rd May 2012, 18:42   #1
overthewater
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Default FirstGroup: Operations improvement, Shares and Survival

It seems growth has been very poor on the uk bus front and it seems there planing to sell off alot quicker.

http://www.guardian.co.uk/business/2...?newsfeed=true

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Originally Posted by Gwyn Topham in The Guardian
FirstGroup to sell off UK bus operations

FirstGroup is to sell off more of its struggling UK bus operations as public spending cuts and rising fuel costs hit profits.

The Scotland-based transport group recorded pre-tax operating profits of 271.4m in the year to 31 March, a fall of 1% on the previous 12 months, boosted mainly by strong performances in the US from its school bus division.

Chief executive Tim O'Toole said there had also been "explosive growth" in Greyhound Express, their revamped intercity coach service in the US, which he said would be "a long-term trend and an opportunity".

O'Toole said the UK bus division which operates in cities including Glasgow, Manchester and London was the only part of the group not to have delivered according to plan, with operating profit falling nearly 10% to 134.4m. "We were surprised in January by our very poor yield after higher fares. We'll be selling certain operations based on the depots we've sold this year we think there's appetite for this."

First Group's bus division had been hit to the tune of 50m by government cutbacks and higher fuel costs, he said. However, he was optimistic about its future. "I think we'll get back to a growing bus market. We're encouraged that the transport minister [Norman Baker] really seems to get it and is backing the bus market, because it's easier for them to cut subsidies and chip away at buses than big ticket items."

FirstGroup has around 8,000 buses operating in 40 towns and cities across the UK, carrying 2.5 million passengers every day.

The group's shares tumbled by a third in March after a profits warning.

FirstGroup pointed out it was the only transport operator to have pre-qualified for all four of the railway franchises currently on offer, including the prestigious west coast franchise and the great western route. O'Toole was also upbeat about the Olympics, for which FirstGroup claims to be "the main provider of spectator transport", or at least those services chartered by the Olympic Delivery Authority. "It will be a great time for the tube and for us as well as we run hundreds of buses, a chance to get these new buses and cascade them through the network."

Analysts however sounded a note of caution. Douglas McNeill of Charles Stanley said: "Management is upbeat on prospects but that was the case before the March profit warning, so the proof of the pudding will be in the eating."

Last edited by overthewater; 31st August 2013 at 18:25. Reason: update the titles as selll
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Old 23rd May 2012, 18:47   #2
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I wonder what this will mean for First's south wales operations then.

That said if First do sell the south wales operations I expect Stagecoach to take the opportunity to take over the operation in Bridgend and Neath Valley both of which are within easy acess to the main depots in Porth or Aberdare/Cwmbach
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Old 23rd May 2012, 18:56   #3
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What of the Swansea ftr scheme? If First were to pull out of Wales, would the City Council then have to subcontract it out to another group, in contrast to the ftr scheme being part of a deal between Wright and First?

Elsewhere, I think we safely say that Northampton are on the hit-list. In which case we'll have our bendies back thank you
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Old 23rd May 2012, 19:00   #4
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http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-scotlan...iness-18172956

I get the feeling its the north that will hit the bin first.
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Old 23rd May 2012, 19:22   #5
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hooray!!
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Old 23rd May 2012, 19:31   #6
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I wonder if more First operations in West Yorkshire will finish up being Centrebus operations.

Incidentally, I heard Stagecoach Manchester aren't performing well either.

Like I suggested in another thread people are walking shorter distances due to the higher fares and I wonder if lowering fares may actually increase profits as more people may travel.
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Old 23rd May 2012, 19:34   #7
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Please, please, please have First GM Buses North be broken up and sold off to JPT, Maytree and South Lancs Travel
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Old 23rd May 2012, 19:42   #8
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Still no mention of Northampton... They claim they're not selling it but also claim they're not giving it the new colour scheme. Sense made not.
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Old 23rd May 2012, 19:45   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by MK Tom View Post
Still no mention of Northampton... They claim they're not selling it but also claim they're not giving it the new colour scheme. Sense made not.
First Edinburgh is also not getting that scheme at the moment. I think we can guess what going to get sold off if we follow the pattens,

Manchester and West Yorkshire: Getting new buses and scheme shortly.
Can any say if York or Chester is getting any buses painted?
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Old 23rd May 2012, 20:02   #10
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Which areas haven't got new ticket machines yet? First have been installing the same new ticket machines across the country so that smartcards can be used. If an area doesn't have or aren't getting new ticket machines, then maybe that area is intended to be sold off.

First Manchester installed their new ticket machines in February, which replaced machines that were only a few years old. On the other hand, I went to Fareham on Saturday and they were still using old Wayfarer 3 machines.
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Old 23rd May 2012, 20:05   #11
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We have got new ticket machines on First cymru although I know of at least 1 bus running around with a wayfarer 2.

That said the almex machine I dont like I still prefer the lastest wayfarers as they are a lot easier and quicker to use
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Old 23rd May 2012, 20:08   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by radamfi View Post
Which areas haven't got new ticket machines yet? First have been installing the same new ticket machines across the country so that smartcards can be used. If an area doesn't have or aren't getting new ticket machines, then maybe that area is intended to be sold off.

First Manchester installed their new ticket machines in February, which replaced machines that were only a few years old. On the other hand, I went to Fareham on Saturday and they were still using old Wayfarer 3 machines.
Well, they'd hardly be likely to part with that, I'd have thought, since they've just launched this new Eclipse or Enigma or whatever it's called service on that new busway, haven't they?
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Old 23rd May 2012, 20:15   #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Schnellzug View Post
Well, they'd hardly be likely to part with that, I'd have thought, since they've just launched this new Eclipse or Enigma or whatever it's called service on that new busway, haven't they?
True, I was actually sampling the busway at the time! I thought it was odd, though, that they were still using those old dot matrix ticket machines which must be getting on for 20 years old now.
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Old 23rd May 2012, 20:26   #14
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Quote:
Can any say if York or Chester is getting any buses painted?
There aren't any repainted vehicles at Chester or Birkenhead that I've seen. I would imagine the Chester & Wirral operation would be a contender to be sold off as other than route 1 (Chester - Liverpool), it doesn't appear to make lots of money.

The fact that most of the vehicles used are cast off's from elsewhere & much older than most other operators in the area use (especially Arriva who seem to have lots of money for new vehicles in Merseyside), seems to confirm this.
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Old 23rd May 2012, 20:30   #15
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I have heard talk that the following areas are the most likely area to get sold off are:

* Edinburgh
* York
* Northampton
* Chester

Yorkshire, Manchester and most of the south safe.
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