Profits move up a gear at Brighton and Hove Buses

Posted On 08 Apr 2018 at 12:49 am

Profits were up by almost a fifth at Brighton and Hove Bus and Coach Company, according to newly filed accounts.

Turnover, or sales revenue, rose 3.9 per cent from £92.8 million to £96.4 million in the year to Saturday 1 July.

And pre-tax profit, the most common measure of business performance, went up 17.7 per cent from £13.2 million to £15.6 million.

The figures cover Brighton and Hove Buses as well as Metrobus, based in Crawley.

Wages and salaries accounted for £44.5 million compared with £43.4 million in the previous 12 months.

In addition £4.28 million in social security costs and a further £1.39 million in pension contributions meant that staff costs totalled just over £50 million.

Brexit presents risks and opportunities for the business, according to the bus company’s annual report, with a slight increase in labour market pressures expected.

It said: “Though we have modest numbers of European employees, the city and sub region depend heavily on European labour in both public and private sectors.”

But Britain’s departure from the European Union could bring benefits, with a possible boost to passenger numbers from extra tourists and perhaps rising fuel prices at the pumps.

“However, indirect impacts such as any downturn in the economy and/or higher inflation reducing discretionary trips by passengers will have more negative impacts on the business,” according to the annual report.

Passenger journeys were reported to be 0.6 per cent down on the previous year although the previous financial year consisted of 53 weeks.

The company said: “Passenger journeys on a like for like 52-week basis increased by 1.3 per cent reflecting the good progress continuing from previous years with our initiatives to improve services to customers.

“Our passenger satisfaction survey results averaged 91 per cent over the year.”

Among the initiatives, the company said, were wifi on every bus and a programme of retrofitting buses with USB charging points.

More new buses have been bought. The company said: “The end of 2017 will see 30 new Euro 6 micro hybrid vehicles enter the Brighton fleet with stop-start technology.

“We continue technological research into new alternatively powered vehicles such as electric and hydrogen and backed up with sympathetic operational practices.

“Our clean air strategy is helping inform strategic planning in the city.”

Contactless or non-cash ticketing is still growing, with more than 75 per cent of “non-concessionary passenger journeys” being made using mobile phones or Key smartcards, similar to Oyster cards.

The company added: “Revenue also benefited through a number of one-off commercial contracts in the year.”

The annual report also said: “Population growth in the areas we serve continues to present market opportunities.”

It mentioned “the reducing expenditure on local bus services of the local authorities as their budgets continue to reduce”.

Brighton and Hove City Council said that it provided financial support totalling more than £1 million for 19 routes that would otherwise be deemed commercially unviable, including eight school bus routes. Some are operated by the rival Big Lemon and Compass bus companies.

  1. H West Reply

    Maybe a few extra buses during the morning rush hour, especially on the 1 route from Portslade to Churchill Square as most mornings around 8 we are packed like sardines. Parents are also escorting their children to school.
    A notice at the entrance about removing backpacks would be nice too, which would save getting bashed in the face every day.

  2. A simpson Reply

    Too expensive. I appreciate it’s a business but they should lower fares. They would still make a profit as more people would use them. There would be less cars in busy brighton streets. At the moment it’s cheaper to drive and park than for a family of four to get the bus into town.

  3. John Reply

    Big corporations need to lower the prices,they will still make money.They can’t keep ripping off the working class.Once they have saturated the south east with loads of buses,putting smaller firms out of business,which is not fair on competitionHang in there Big Yellow

  4. Monik Reply

    To expensive! If they made such a great profit maybe they should lower the price for passengers!! Rip off Britain

  5. MikeV Reply

    Increased profits? Unaffordable fares?
    Hand up all those who voted for privatisation, aka the Tories.
    I believe the phrase is, “Suck it up”.

    • Peter Challis Reply

      No problem with privitisation if it encourages better services – buy you also need effective competition / controls. In Brighton and Hove we have an effective monopoly with B&H Buses setting fares and running almost all services and the other, minor players, just following them. Perhaps we need a franchise system with the council setting prices?

      • MikeV Reply

        “No problem with privitisation if it encourages better services” But it hasn’t.
        “You also need effective competition” Which there isn’t.
        “You also need effective controls” Paid for by who? Certainly not by shareholders.
        “the council setting prices” Yep, I can see businesses queuing up for this one.

        There is EVERYTHING wrong with privatisation of public services, as your very weak attempt to justify it shows.
        A profit driven company will only ever offer routes on which it makes money, unless heavily subsidised. That means essential routes are lost, night buses closed down, bus frequency reduced, staff paid low salaries, staff pushed to the limit, corners cut on health & safety, councils ripped off on concessionary fare schemes, councils paying for elaborate bus lane systems which serve only to maximise bus companies’ takings, etc. etc.
        You have to be very naive indeed to believe that a company dependent on keeping its shareholders happy has got the public’s best interests at heart.

  6. CW Reply

    Unbelievably expensive bus fares! We never get the bus as it costs too much. We either drive into town (causing pollution) or shop online (damaging high streets). It is disgusting that a bus company is making so much profit and in this supposedly left-leaning environmentally-minded city.

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