Bus Contracts

Plenary on 2006-12-06
Session date: 
December 6, 2006
Question By: 
Roger Evans
GLA Conservatives
Asked Of: 
Peter Hendy (Commissioner, Transport for London)


In 2004/05, the average level of ridership per bus journey was 14.7. Given that Stagecoach made a profit of £120 million on the recent sale of their two bus companies, with not a penny shared with TfL or re-invested back into the network, are you satisfied that such a low level of average ridership provides sufficient value for money?


Answer for Bus Contracts

Answer for Bus Contracts

Answered By: 
Peter Hendy (Commissioner, Transport for London)

You have misinterpreted the statistic. 14.7 is not the average level of ridership per bus journey. It is the notional 'average load' taking services at all times and all places into account. The result is very similar to that achieved in other comparable international cities. For UK comparison the 'average load' on Merseyside is 10. The average load on London Underground is 110.

The statistic is of most use as an indicator of change over time. In London it has increased by over 15% since the formation of TfL. You will no doubt be aware that there is in fact very high ridership on buses in London, and indeed no shortage of people ready to let us know when their route needs an increase in capacity, which we are very happy to provide if we can.

The London bus network provides excellent value for money, as the GLA Transport Committee reported following its `Value added' scrutiny. Ridership on buses has increased by nearly 40% since TfL's formation. No where else in the UK is this level of increase matched.

Stagecoach bought two London bus companies when they were privatised by the previous Government in 1993/94. In commenting on the profit they took on selling them you are making a point about 1990s privatization policy, which is not within my remit. As you will know Government did not see fit to make legislation requiring open-ended commitments from private companies to share their profits from subsequent sales.