FirstGroup Announces Sale Of Its Greyhound Bus Service In The US For £125M – – Daily Cryptocurrency and FX News

FirstGroup Announces Sale Of Its Greyhound Bus Service In The US For £125M – – Daily Cryptocurrency and FX News

FirstGroup is now concentrating on becoming a UK-focused operation, according to Chairman David Martin.

Intending to become fully focused on UK business, FirstGroup has announced the sale of its Greyhound bus service in the US, as its Lumo train service operated its inaugural journey from London to Scotland.

The German operator FlixMobility would acquire the long-established North American intercity coach business for $172m (£125m), in a deal that will see FirstGroup temporarily retain the depots and terminals, as well as pension liabilities – in effect offloading Greyhound for a net loss of $19m.

Profits from its recent sales of its First Transit and First Student bus businesses in the US, after it decided to pull out of the North American market, would offset the losses, according to an official statement from FirstGroup.

Without ruling out further international expansion, particularly in Europe, however, the chairman and acting chief executive, David Martin said FirstGroup was now turning around as a UK-focused group.

He said the deal with Flix:

“realizes an appropriate value for Greyhound’s operations and ensures Greyhound’s legacy liabilities are suitably managed”, and “completes the portfolio rationalization strategy which has refocused FirstGroup on its leading UK public transport businesses”.

Being the second-largest UK bus operator outside London, FirstGroup runs four of the UK’s rail networks – GWR, Avanti, South Western, and TransPennine – as well as Hull Trains and now Lumo, an open-access service on the East Coast mainline.

Lumo will run a one-class service with limited stops between London and Edinburgh. On an inaugural run on October 21, it unveiled its new Hitachi trains, with passenger services starting on Monday, promising cheaper fares in seats with more legroom, Wi-Fi, and tables.

Most tickets will be sold in advance, entirely digitally – with walk-up tickets priced at the same level as the government-contracted LNER trains, currently £170 one-way between the two capitals.

The managing director of Lumo, Helen Wylde said it marked the “end of first-class … so not just a handful of people travel in comfort” while speaking at King’s Cross station in London. She said early advance ticket sales had been “above expectations”, especially for weekends.

Under a 10-year open-access license, Lumo will eventually run five London-Edinburgh trains a day in each direction, promising to take a market share from airlines rather than the state-run rival LNER.

FirstGroup’s head of rail, Steve Montgomery, said:

“We have invested over £100m to ensure Lumo stands apart and encourages people to choose rail travel over air for journeys between the two capitals. This is an important moment for the industry as we encourage more people back on to the rail network.”

For many travelers, the cost of rail travel has otherwise risen significantly, with the mandated 2.6% above inflation increase in March, while on government-contracted train networks fewer cheaper advance fares are now often available to consumers. Montgomery said:

“Advance ticket availability, for its operators such as GWR and Avanti, had been affected by fluctuating capacity and several timetable changes during the pandemic, limiting train operators’ ability to sell services in advance.”


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