Friday, 17 June 2016

Share of the London Bus Market

Different companies, same service

Please note: I won't be showing any political bias here as this article is solely for informational purposes only.

Back in early 2015, I wrote an article about the private companies contracted to TFL; in this article I will be explaining about the operational share of the London bus market based by share from European, International and British companies.

I'll start with the British companies as they are the largest with 39.77% of the operating share.

Who are the British owned companies that operate London Bus services? They are CT Plus, Go Ahead Group, Stagecoach Group, Sullivan Buses and Uno (University Bus Ltd.)

Percentage of share
CT Plus
Go Ahead Group
Sullivan Buses

I would like to highlight that CT Plus is a Social Enterprise which means they invest their profits back to the organisation; they can be structured as a for profit and non profit company. CT Plus operates from Ash Grove (HK) garage with Arriva London (AE) and is owned by HCT Group who also operate bus services in various parts of England. HCT Group are also contracted to operate public bus services in the Crown Dependencies of Guernsey and Jersey.

Sullivan Buses is a local bus company based in South Mimms, Hertfordshire. They operate 1 London bus route and 7 school routes, contracted by TFL. They also operate several bus routes in the Hertford area.

Uno (University Bus Limited) is owned by the University of Hertfordshire and as well as operating 1 London Bus route they operate over 40 bus routes in Hertfordshire.

Go Ahead Group and Stagecoach Group are public limited companies as they are in the FTSE 250. They are also the largest bus operators in Britain.

European companies operate 37.12% of the London Bus market.

Percentage of share

Abellio operates bus services in London and Surrey, they also operate Greater Anglia and the ScotRail franchise. Abellio is owned by Nederlandse Spoorwegen who in-turn are owned by the Netherlands Government.

Arriva operate bus services in London and are one of the largest bus operators in Britain. They also operate the railway franchises of Chiltern Railways, New CrossCountry, Northern and Wales & Borders. On November 13th 2016, they will be fully operating the concession of the London Overground service. They also operate the open access railway service Grand Central and Tyne & Wear Metro. Arriva is owned by Deutsche Bahn which is owned by the German Government.

RATP Dev own London United, London Sovereign and Quality Line/Epsom Buses, these companies operate London Bus routes under contract to TfL. They also own Bath Bus Company, Yellow Bus Company and The Original Tour. RATP Dev is owned by RATP Group which again is a state owned company in France as they are also responsible for transport services in Paris. RATP stands for RĂ©gie Autonome des Transports Parisiens which means Autonomous Operator of Parisian Transports in English.

I find it extremely interesting how the bus companies contracted to TFL are owned by state-owned governments in Europe.

The internationally owned bus companies operate 22.74% of the London Bus market.

ComfortDelGro owns Metroline, a former London Buses subsidiary company. During June 2013, First London (Formerly London Buses Centrewest) sold nearly all of their operations to Metroline and the remainder to Tower Transit and Go Ahead London. ComfortDelGro is a subsidiary of SBS Transit, one of the major bus operators in Singapore.

Tower Transit is owned by Transit Systems and is based in Australia. Tower Transit took over First London's Atlas Road (Park Royal), Lea Interchange (Leyton) and Westbourne Park garages with 24 London bus routes and 412 buses back in June 2013. Transit Systems also owns Go Whippet, a bus company based in Cambridgeshire.

London Bus operations were privatised completely during the mid 1990's under competitive tender. It's interesting how these companies are taken over by international companies and public bodies in various European countries.

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Image attribution
By Au Morandarte from Chiswick/Romford, London, England - Stagecoach 17941 (115), Go-Ahead WVL94 (541)Uploaded by Ultra7, CC BY-SA 2.0,

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