I read an interview in Route One magazine at silly o’clock this morning when enjoying the joys of insomnia, it was with the new MD of Arriva UK Bus, a chap who had spent his career in the Airline industry with spells at Rolls Royce. He seemed like a decent enough chap and he saw deliverables for the bus industry around safety and engineering. This makes good sense and I know myself from projects that uTrack has developed that the engineering aspect of the bus industry is evolving rapidly.
Taking a step back its worth noting that out of the Big 5 bus groups, two namely First UK Bus, and Arriva UK Bus are both up for sale. It will be interesting to see exactly what happens to both Companies, the new MD of Arriva was quite upbeat about what might well be a short term role if someone comes along and buys the business. However, the process is ongoing and so we will have to see what happens. Interestingly, the First UK Bus empire is also under the hammer and again it will be interesting to see who might want bits of it. Rotala have already brought Bolton depot which makes good sense. The Go Ahead group have also been busy buying various businesses both at home and abroad, as have Comfort Del Grano, most recently in Wales. But who knows who will pop out of the woodwork.
The recent interest in local authorities buying back local bus Companies like First in Glasgow is also an interesting option that until the most recent bus bill was not actually on the agenda. So, with Go Ahead doing quite nicely with positive expansion in Dublin and Australia, and with National Express reputedly taking over the bespoke school contracts in the West Midlands and about to buy the ring and ride services, these are clearly interesting times for the Bus and Coach sector. As ever I will keep you posted as to what happens next.