• UK Bus passenger patronage up over 2% in final quarter of 2013
  • £70m order for 425 new buses announced
  • But chief executive Tim O’Toole remains under pressure

New trading figures released by FirstGroup last week suggest that its UK bus division has turned a corner after years of decline.

Giles Fearnley, managing director of the 6,500-vehicle business, told Passenger Transport that some of the group’s operations were now experiencing “phenomenal” and “unprecedented” growth – driven by a combination of new buses, renewed management focus and fare initiatives. Across the business, patronage was up by over 2% in the final quarter of 2013.

The group is seeking to build on this momentum with the arrival of a further 425 new buses in 2014, a £70m investment.

However, despite signs that the turnaround programme is starting to deliver results at the UK bus business, group chief executive Tim O’Toole is facing new demands from major shareholders to prove he has the right strategy.


Further coverage can be found inside the latest issue of Passenger Transport:

O’Toole under pressure to prove he can deliver in UK and US
FirstGroup’s chief executive is facing new demands from shareholders to prove his ability to turn round the business and consider breaking it up

Patronage surge for UK buses
Volume increases have given group confidence


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