Follow by Email

Wednesday, 16 March 2011

Two jobs

Well it seems right now like having two jobs as I am working to hand over my responsibilities at FirstGroup whilst at the same time gradually picking up more information and briefings from TfL.

As is now generally known my last day at First will be 1st April which is in two and a half weeks' time. I then have two weeks holiday and start at TfL on 20th April - just in time for Easter, the Royal Wedding and May Day!

So I am on the last round of seeing my various teams and spent Friday on a marathon one-long-day visit to Germany where our business is in good shape and, I am pleased to say, rather larger than when we first bought it several years ago.

There are signs of a loosening in the German market with certain long-standing restrictions (such as no road services allowed to complete with rail) looking like they might be relaxed. At the same time there has been a rather higher level of criticism of DB especially in terms of rail performance. All this represents a changing face in this market.

At the same time we see continued interest in the British market by overseas transport groups. The long drawn out reshuffle of the French companies has now established RATP firmly in the UK with operations in London and elsewhere plus a clear intention to expand further. Overseas transport groups often have access to cheap capital and are more relaxed about profit margins on contracted work so do pose a threat to the traditional bus companies in UK.

All this is taking place in the face of the continued economic uncertainty, rising fuel prices and the imminent publication of the initial findings of the Competition Commission which we expect in the next month or so.

In the trade press recently Giles Fearnley, our bus Managing Director gave advance notice of our imminent announcement of significant orders for new buses. I am not yet in a position to release any details of this other than to say that it will span the next two years and will include all our requirements for the Olympics.

And lastly a new story. Across in the USA our Greyhound business transports the Harlem Globetrotters wherever they go and later in April this famous team is coming to UK for a 9-day tour. So yes, two Greyhound coaches will provide the team transport and we will be having Greyhound and Globetrotter photocalls in each of the major cities where they are playing. These include Aberdeen, London, Cardiff, manchester and Sheffield. If you see coaches on the motorway in unusual locations then it is the famous Harlem Globetrotters aboard.

And a photo to launch the Globetrotters' Greyhound UK adventure!


No comments:

Post a Comment