Today’s news that Stagecoach is to buy the East London Bus Group for around £53 million is interesting if only for the fact that the current owners bought the business in 2006 for a price of around £264 million – from none other than Stagecoach! But what has this got to do with Manchester Transport? Not very much, if it weren’t for the following paragraph in the official announcement to the financial markets:
We plan to finance the majority of new vehicles for the business with operating leases that match the related contracts with Transport for London. The operating lease model will increase the London business’ costs. However, it will mean that the fleet strategy of our non-London UK Bus operations is less dictated by owned vehicles that are no longer required by the London business being forced upon the non-London business. This should in turn avoid any dilution to our successful strategy for our non-London UK Bus operations.
In the heady days of Ken Livingstone’s expansion of the London bus network to cater for the introduction of congestion charging, it seemed like the provinces would get London’s cast-off vehicles. But now Manchester seems to be the jewel in the crown of Stagecoach’s UK bus operations, with well over 300 brand new low floor double deckers introduced in the past five years and many more nearly-new vehicles being sent to other parts of the UK. If the statement is to be believed, then hopefully it should be business as usual with lots more new vehicles entering service here in the future.
[Image credit: “Coupling up!” by kenjonbro on Flickr]