Stagecoach Group plc
( ) is an international
transport group operating buses
, express coach
group was founded in 1980 by the current chairman, Brian Souter
, his sister, Ann Gloag
, and her former husband Robin
. The group is based in Perth, Scotland, and has
operations in the United
Kingdom and North
With 16% of the bus market and 25% of the rail market, including
its 49% stake in Virgin Trains
being the largest operator of light rail services, the company is
the second largest transport firm in the United Kingdom, close
behind First Group
. Stagecoach operates
over 7,200 vehicles and covers over 90 major towns and cities in
Britain, carrying around 2.5 million passengers
Stagecoach UK Bus employs 18,000 people.
In North America, Stagecoach owns the Coach
and Coach Canada
although the Western and South Central units of the company have
been sold to a two different private equity firms, now Coach America and American Coach
, with other
companies sold to Peter Pan
being rebranded under that name.
in Kenya, Malawi, Portugal, Sweden, Hong Kong and New
Zealand have been sold.
The company is listed on the
London Stock Exchange
it is a constituent of the FTSE 250
was born of deregulation in the
coach market in the early 1980s, though its roots can be traced
back to 1976 when Ann Gloag and her
husband Robin set up a small motor caravan and minibus hire business
Ann's accountant brother
joined the firm and
expanded the business into bus hire. Robin
subsequently sold his shareholding in the business and
ceased any involvement in 1982 with the collapse of his marriage to
Transport Act 1980, which freed express services of 35 miles and
over from regulation by the Traffic Commissioner, brought new
opportunities for the Perth-based company and services were
launched from Dundee to London using
second-hand Neoplan coaches.
For a while, they offered a
very personal service with Brian Souter doing the driving and Ann
Gloag making up sandwiches and snacks for the passengers.
Successfully competing against the then state-owned National Express
and Scottish Citylink
, the company grew
significantly between 1981 and 1985, when Stagecoach entered local
bus operation with the acquisition of McLennan Of Spittalfield,
near Perth. Its early success allowed Stagecoach to take advantage
of the privatisation
of the national
bus groups. Several firms were purchased from the National Bus
Company, Scottish Bus Group
and various city councils.
The company consolidated its operations during the 1990s by
purchasing management and employee owned
often ex-NBC and SBG firms where the owners were keen to make a
huge profit on their sale. Stagecoach left the long distance
express coach market in 1988 when it sold its operations to
In 1996 Porterbrook
was sold as in a
management-employee buyout and subsequently bought by Stagecoach.
Porterbrook is one of the three major Rolling Stock Companies in
the United Kingdom which was created in 1994 as part of the
privatisation of British Rail
, it owns
around a third of passenger railway locomotives, multiple units and
coaching stock running on Network
's system which it leases to various train operators. In
April 2000 Abbey National
Porterbrook from Stagecoach for £773 million.
In 1997, the Stagecoach Group won the franchise to operate the
Sheffield Supertram system, from South Yorkshire Supertram Ltd, an
arm of the South Yorkshire Passenger Transport Executive, who own
the system. The Group bought the remaining 27 years of a 30 year
franchise, which expires in 2024, and run the operation under the
having responsibility for the operation and maintainance of the
tram system. When Stagecoach took over the system, it was
struggling, both financially and in terms of attracting passengers,
but it now an extremely popular and successful operation.
took another turn in 1998, when it purchased Scotland's Prestwick
Airport for £41 million.
By the summer of 1999, the
company was rumoured to have been offered some £80 million for
Prestwick. They sold the airport in January 2001 to concentrate on
A Stagecoach London vehicle operating on
London Buses route 30 was
destroyed in the 7 July 2005
London bombings and a second was targeted 21 July 2005
London bombings, operating on London Buses route 26.
were bound for Hackney.
In a tribute to those who lost their lives
in the attack, Stagecoach London dedicated a new Alexander Dennis Enviro400
Spirit Of London", to London Buses route 30, replacing the vehicle
destroyed. The bus was unveiled by the Mayor of London
in a ceremony on 3 October 2005
On 21 November 2005
Stagecoach announced the sale of its New Zealand operations to
250.5m (£100m; US$171.6m).
14 December 2005
Stagecoach purchased Barnsley-based Traction Group (Yorkshire Traction) for £26m, and also
assume Traction's £11m debt. Traction operated 840 buses in South and West Yorkshire (Yorkshire Traction, Barnsley
& District, Yorkshire Terrier), Lincolnshire (RoadCar) and Angus (Strathtay Scottish).
the largest remaining privately owned independent bus operator in
Following the sale of its London bus
to Macquarie Bank
2006, Stagecoach UK Bus concentrated on the bus market outside the
UK capital, focusing on organic growth and exploring acquisition
In September 2005, following competition with its Megabus
coach operation, Stagecoach launched a joint
venture with Scottish Citylink
coaches. After a competition enquiry, in October 2006 Stagecoach
was instructed to sell some of the Scottish coach services.
Stagecoach are also active in the rail industry, currently
operating the South West Trains
franchise (extended for 10 years from February 2007) and having a
49% stake in Virgin Trains
. In 2007
the group won the right to take over the part of the old Central Trains
franchise and the Midland Mainline
franchise, creating the
new East Midlands Trains
In November 2006, Stagecoach was shortlisted to submit a final bid
to operate the Manchester
tram network. On 3 April 2007 it was announced that
the Group were the preferred bidders for the tram and
infrastructure maintenance and operation after Serco ended its
service during 2007. On May 30
signed the 10 year contract, which started in July 2007. It is
believed that the Group's experience with, and successful operation
of, the Sheffield tram system was a factor in the final
January 2009, Stagecoach bought Preston
Bus, a former rival in the Lancashire area.
Stagecoach Group plc is listed on the London Stock Exchange
, though company
Chairman Brian Souter and his sister Ann Gloag are the largest
in Stagecoach. Ms Gloag no
longer has an executive role in the company.
Souter and Gloag's involvement in bus manufacturer Alexander Dennis
(the former Transbus
International), and Souter's previously owned stake in ScotAirways
are not related to the Stagecoach
Group Structure (from 11
November 2007, except Fens and
UK operating companies
The following is a breakdown of the Stagecoach operating divisions.
The centre of each operating region is shown in parentheses. Legal
company names are listed alongside the trading names for that
- Stagecoach Cooks Coaches - Stagecoach controls tendered
operations in the Somerset and Devon areas through Stagecoach Cooks
Coaches. This is managed as an entirely separate entity within the
Stagecoach UK Bus, and buses do not feature Stagecoach corporate
livery. The headquarters is in Wellington.
- Stagecoach Devon - Stagecoach
controls operations in Devon through Stagecoach Devon, comprising
Devon General Ltd and Torbay Bayline Ltd. The trading name of these
operations is Stagecoach in Devon. The headquarters is in Exeter.
- Stagecoach East
Midlands - Stagecoach controls operations in the East Midlands
area through Stagecoach East Midlands. Comprising Lincolnshire
RoadCar Co Ltd, Grimsby-Cleethorpes Transport Ltd, Cleveland
Transit Ltd(Hull depot) and East Midland Motor Services Ltd.
Trading names include Stagecoach in Bassetlaw, Stagecoach in
Mansfield, Stagecoach in South Yorkshire, Stagecoach
Grimsby-Cleethorpes, Stagecoach in Hull and Stagecoach in
Lincolnshire. The heaquarters is in Lincoln.
- Stagecoach East
Scotland - Stagecoach controls operations in the east of
Scotland through Stagecoach East Scotland, comprising Fife Scottish
Omnibuses Ltd, AA Buses Ltd, Bluebird Buses Ltd, JW Coaches Ltd,
Stagecoach (Scotland) Ltd and Strathtay Scottish Omnibuses Ltd.
Trading names include Stagecoach in Perth, Stagecoach Bluebird,
Stagecoach in Inverness, Stagecoach in Fife and Strathtay. It also
operates the new Forth Fast hovercraft service from Kirkcaldy to
Portobello. The heaquarters is in Cowdenbeath.
- Stagecoach Highlands -
Stagecoach controls operations in the Scottish Highlands after the
takeover of The Rapsons Group/Orkney Coaches/Highland Country Buses
in 2008, adding to the network already operated in the City of
Inverness by Stagecoach, comprising of Highland Country Buses
Limited. It trades as Stagecoach in Orkney, Stagecoach in
Lochaber(Fort William depot), Stagecoach in Skye(Portree depot),
Stagecoach in Inverness(Aviemore depot) and Stagecoach in
Caithness(Thurso depot). The headquarters is in Inverness
- Stagecoach North East -
Stagecoach controls operations in the north east of England through
Stagecoach North East, comprising Busways Travel Services Ltd and
Cleveland Transit Ltd. Trading names include Stagecoach on
Teesside, Stagecoach in Hartlepool, Stagecoach in Newcastle,
Stagecoach in South Shields and Stagecoach in Sunderland.
heaquarters is in Sunderland.
- Stagecoach North West -
Stagecoach controls most operations in the north west of England
through Stagecoach North West, comprising Cumberland Motor Services
Ltd and Ribble Motor Services Ltd. Trading names include Stagecoach in
Cumbria, Stagecoach in Lancaster, Stagecoach in Preston and Stagecoach
in Lancashire. The heaquarters is in Carlisle.
- Stagecoach Manchester -
Stagecoach controls operations in Greater Manchester through
Stagecoach Manchester, comprising Greater Manchester Buses (South)
Ltd. Trading names include Stagecoach in Manchester and Magic Bus.
heaquarters is in Manchester.
- Stagecoach Merseyside -
Stagecoach controls operations in the Merseyside and Liverpool
areas through Stagecoach Merseyside. The legal names of the group
is Glenvale Transport Ltd.
Trading names include Stagecoach in Merseyside and Magic Bus.
heaquarters is in Liverpool.
- Stagecoach Sheffield -
Stagecoach controls bus and tram operations in the Sheffield area
of England through Stagecoach Sheffield, comprising Yorkshire
Terrier, South Yorkshire Supertram Ltd and Andrews (Sheffield) Ltd.
Trading names include Stagecoach in Sheffield and Stagecoach
Supertram. The heaquarters is in Sheffield.
East Kent & East Sussex - Stagecoach controls operations in
East Kent and East Sussex through Stagecoach East Kent & East
Sussex, comprising the East Kent Road Car Company Limited, Hastings
& District Transport Ltd, Eastbourne Buses Ltd and Cavendish
Motor Services Ltd. Fleetnames include Stagecoach in Eastbourne, Stagecoach in Hastings and Stagecoach
in East Kent. The additional Stagecoach in East Sussex name is
used on joint Eastbourne & Hastings publicity but is not
carried on vehicles. The Cavendish company is currently
non-operational, this and Eastbourne Buses are the subject of a
current Competition Commission enquiry. The headquarters are
- Stagecoach Oxfordshire -
Stagecoach controls operations in Oxfordshire area through
Stagecoach in Oxfordshire, comprising Thames Transit Ltd and
Midland Red (South) Ltd. Trading names include Stagecoach in
Oxfordshire and Oxford Tube. The heaquarters is in Oxford.
- Stagecoach Wales or Stagecoach
de Cymru / South Wales - Stagecoach controls operations in Wales
through Stagecoach Wales, comprising Red & White Services Ltd,
The Valleys Bus Co Ltd, Aberdare Bus Co Ltd, Rhondda Buses Ltd,
Parfitts Motor Services Ltd, Eastern Valley Bus Co Ltd and
Crosskeys Coach Hire Ltd. The trading name for these operations is
Stagecoach in South Wales and Stagecoach de Cymru. The heaquarters is in
- Stagecoach in
Warwickshire - Stagecoach controls operations in Warwickshire
area through Stagecoach in Warwickshire, comprising Midland Red
(South) Ltd. Trading names include Stagecoach in Warwickshire,
Goldine. The heaquarters is in Rugby.
- Stagecoach West - Stagecoach
controls operations in the West of England through Stagecoach West,
comprising Cheltenham District Traction Company Ltd, Swindon &
District Bus Company Ltd and Cheltenham & Gloucester Omnibus
Company Ltd. Trading names include Stagecoach in Cheltenham,
Stagecoach in Swindon, Stagecoach in Gloucester, Stagecoach in the
Cotswolds, Stagecoach in the Wye and Dean. The heaquarters is in
- Stagecoach West
Scotland - Stagecoach controls operations in the west of
Scotland through Stagecoach West Scotland, comprising Western Buses
Ltd and Stagecoach Glasgow Ltd. Trading names include Stagecoach
Western, Stagecoach A1 Service, Stagecoach in Glasgow. The heaquarters is in
- Stagecoach Yorkshire -
Stagecoach controls operations in the Yorkshire area through
Stagecoach Yorkshire, comprising Yorkshire Traction Co Ltd,
Chesterfield Transport Ltd and Barnsley & District Traction Co
Ltd. Trading names include Stagecoach in Yorkshire and Stagecoach
in Chesterfield. The heaquarters is in Barnsley.
Apart from the ordinary bus operations and no-frills services, the
UK bus division has the following brands that extend across
- Stagecoach Express - an
express coach service that operates mainly between towns and cities
where Stagecoach operate (e.g. Sheffield to Chesterfield) It tends not to compete with National Express like
Megabus, and in some cases tickets are available through the
National Express website.
- Oxford Tube - an express coach
service offering high frequency 24-hour services to London,
operated by Stagecoach
Oxfordshire in competition with Oxford Bus Company's Espress
- Citi - some urban networks have received Citi branding, such as
Cambridge and Preston.
- Goldline - an luxury bus
service brand designed to attract middle class motorists.
- Island Line
Trains - Island Line,
the rail system for the Isle of Wight, has also been operated by Stagecoach since
privatisation and was merged into the South West franchise in
2007. By 2016, when the South West franchise is due to end,
the rolling stock will be over 80 years old.
- Virgin Trains - the group has a
49% stake in Virgin Trains, which operates the West Coast Main Line
franchise, and formerly owned the Cross Country franchise, but due
to the recent Midlands resuffle the Cross Country franchise was
lost to Arriva. The West Coast franchise is
due to end by 2012.
Light Rail Division
- Stagecoach Supertram -
Stagecoach has operated the Sheffield Supertram under a concession
from the South Yorkshire
Passenger Transport Executive since 1997. Its average daily
ridership is 33,700, equalling more than 12 million per year, well
above expectations. There are currently three lines, and future
plans include schemes to Rotherham, Dore, Fulwood and Maltby. However, following consultations, a reduced
scheme with extensions to Rotherham and Broomhill is being considered.
- Manchester Metrolink - in
July 2007 Stagecoach took over the operation of the Manchester
Metrolink on a fixed-term management contract, beating competition
from Serco and Govia, to
make it the biggest tram operator in the UK. This system was the
first modern tram system in the United Kingdom, opening just before the Sheffield system in
1992. Nearly 18 million people ride on the system
a year, compared with five million on National Express Group's Midland Metro which has a higher catchment
area, serving Birmingham the second most populated city in England, and
stretching as far as Wolverhampton.
North American operating companies
Stagecoach employs 4,400 people and operates a fleet of 2,800
coaches in the northeastern and midwestern United States and in
eastern Canada. Businesses are focused on commuter services, and
include tour and charter, sightseeing, local, and school bus
operations. Operations in North America are exclusively bus
- Coach USA -
operating primarily in the northeastern United States providing
subsidized transit services (primarily in Greater New
York), sightseeing, and charter services, and in the
States with primarily charter and sightseeing
services. Yellow school bus services are also provided
by Coach USA in the state of Wisconsin.
- Megabus - discount express bus
services radiating from Chicago and New York
City. Like Megabus in the United Kingdom, most
stops are made at street locations. Details are listed in the
Megabus section below.
- Coach Canada -
serving primarily Ontario and Quebec, where it
operates interurban and chartered bus services, contract bus
services in Durham Region, Ontario,
Canada, yellow school bus service in Durham Region and
County in Ontario, and sightseeing services in Montreal.
shortly before the privatisation of British
Rail, Stagecoach Rail briefly operated a modest intercity
operation between Aberdeen and London.
British Railways Mark 2
passenger carriages were re-branded in Stagecoach colours and
attached to a scheduled British Rail
Stagecoach purchased the East London and Selkent divisions of
London Buses, which operated tendered services for London Transport
. Deciding to
focus on organic growth for its UK bus operations, and citing the
inflexibility of the London tendering system, the London bus
operations were sold to Macquarie
on 31 August 2006
for £263.6m. Macquarie continued to use the
Stagecoach brand for a limited period under licence, and Stagecoach
provided administrative and other support functions for a
transitional period of 12 months from the sale. The operations have
now been rebranded into their original East London and Selkent
identities, albeit updated.
Stagecoach New Zealand was a
wholly-owned part of the Stagecoach Group, which provided bus
services in Auckland, Wellington and the Hutt Valley and
nine ferry routes in Auckland.
A Stagecoach-liveried trolleybus in Wellington, New Zealand
the largest bus company in New Zealand when sold. Stagecoach NZ
started operations when the firm acquired Wellington City Transport
Ltd, including the Hutt Valley suburban bus operations of the
New Zealand Railways
, branded CityLine
, in the 1990s.
Following this initial acquisition Stagecoach also purchased
Eastbourne Buses, The Yellow Bus Company in Auckland and a
controlling interest in Fullers Auckland. Before selling the
business Stagecoach operated more than 900 buses and nine ferries
in New Zealand and employed more than 2000 people.
In November 2005 Infratil
Stagecoach New Zealand from Stagecoach Group. They are rebranding
all the former Stagecoach operations, to be completed by 2010 when
the deal to use the Stagecoach name expires.
In 1993, during Stagecoach's International buying spree, it made
its most important international acquisition at the time, buying
, the bus-company arm of the Swedish state railway
, for 1.2 billion kronor
($164 million). Mr. Souter called it "the most
important deal of the year in terms of our company's long-range
development" and promised more. Stagecoach in 1998 announced that
it had bid for several rail franchises in Sweden. On 28 October 1999 Stagecoach
revealed that it was going to sell Swebus to
Concordia Bus Sweden for £100m, in order to refocus its bus
operation on the United
States and Asia. This left Arriva as the only British-based
operator of public transport services in Sweden.
November 1991, Stagecoach Holdings Limited (as it was named then)
bought United Transport’s share holding in Kenya Bus Services
During its tenure, Stagecoach rapidly expanded the
, introducing the Express
Services and the modern double decker buses back on Kenyan
In October 1998, a consortium of investors led by Mr. Karanja
Kabage as Chairman acquired Kenya Bus Services Limited from
Stagecoach Holdings which owned 95% of the business.
MAN HP6440 bus on route 11 with
In 1994, Stagecoach created a bus-operating subsidiary in Hong Kong
which operated residential bus services. It ceased operation in
Stagecoach planned to become the largest bus company in China through
joint ventures, equity stakes and partnerships, and confirmed the
£181m acquisition of Hong Kong's Citybus.
control of Citybus Group Limited in March 1999 and completed the
privatisation of Citybus on 17 July 1999
. Citybus is the second largest franchise bus
operator in Hong
Kong and provides franchised bus services on Hong Kong Island and to and from Hong Kong's
It also provided a number of non-franchise
services throughout Hong Kong, including express daily coach
services between residential developments and city/town centres. In
addition, Citybus operatds a small number of metropolitan bus
services in Mainland China
In a surprise move, the company was acquired by Chow Tai Fook Enterprises
though it was once touted as the gateway to its expansion in the
Asia-Pacific region although Stagecoach commented saying that
"combination of the uncertainties about the economic climate in
Hong Kong, the growing levels of regulation to which the business
is becoming subject and the inability to grow profit without very
significant investment or critical mass synergies required it to
take very seriously the approach and to negotiate terms which were
in the best interests of Stagecoach shareholders".
Chow Tai Fook Enterprises, the parent company of the major rival
operator New World First Bus
took over Citybus in June 2003. Citybus had 1,200 buses across 113
routes on Hong Kong Island and 22 services to the airport at the
time of the sale. It made an operating profit before goodwill
amortisation of £19m in the year to April on turnover of £133m, the
lion's share of its overseas bus division. The sale neted
Stagecoach £132m after third-party debt.
Stagecoach have since ditched their plans on extending to Asia, and
have sold off their operations in mainland China.
Stagecoach Portugal had its origins in the reprivatization of
Portuguese bus and coach operation, which had been nationalized
after the 1974 Revolution
1990, the nationalized Rodoviária Nacional was split into ten
components. In the capital, Lisbon was the
chief operator outside the city itself, where Carris provided city
bus and tram services.
The name of Rodoviária de Lisboa survived as part of the
Barraqueiro bus company, but another part, serving the area to the
west of Lisbon, became Stagecoach Portugal in 1995. A further
portion still operates as Vimeca-, Viação Mecânica de Carnaxide. In
June 2001 Stagecoach announced the sale of their Portuguese
operations to ScottURB for £14 million, even though turnover and
operating profit for the year-ended 30 April 2000 had been £6.8
million and £1.1 million respectively. At that time, Stagecoach
Portugal operated 135 buses on 60 routes in the area west of
Lisbon, carrying 27 million people per annum. In June 2001, the bus
services were disposed of, generating £6 million for
Stagecoach operate a number of so-called
"no-frills" services across the United Kingdom and the United States.
Applying the business model of the low-cost carrier
air lines, these services
aim to offer cheaper alternatives to the established operators in
the bus, coach and rail markets, by reducing costs, and offering
extremely low fares for the earliest bookings, rising nearer the
journey time. This has caused many other companies, most notably
, to lower their
Megabus is a low cost,
"no-frills" intercity bus service launched
in the United Kingdom by Stagecoach in 2003, on 10 April 2006 in
States, and in 2009 within Canada.
rival in the UK is National
, who have had to lower their prices to compete with
Megabus. In the US, Megabus/Eastern Shuttle's main rival is
, which is 50% owned by Stagecoach
. In the UK, the
Megabus network covers most of the island of Great Britain, although some routes offer only one journey per
Originally operated using high capacity but older coach
seated buses, most services are now operated with new modern single
or double deck coaches. In the United States, services radiate from
Chicago and New York
City, but the networks are not connected.
the UK and the US, to cut costs, most services use on-street bus
stops rather than pay for access to coach stations (except in cases
where pre-existing routes were converted to Megabus lines).
In the UK and in the US for routes out of Chicago, all journeys
must be pre-booked via Megabus.com or the designated phone number,
or at certain bus stations; tickets are not available from the
driver. In the US for routes out of New York City, Megabus journeys
must be pre-booked via Megabus.com or the designated phone number
(or at the New York City station).
14 November 2005,
the Megabus concept was extended to certain rail services, with the
introduction of Megatrain between London and Southampton, and London and Portsmouth, using a dedicated carriage on selected South West Trains services.
since been extended to some Virgin
services (since withdrawn) and to selected East Midlands Trains
In 2009, the Megabusplus concept was introduced, under which
certain trips are begun on a train and are then completed on a bus.
Unlike the original Megatrain concept, this service is available
seven days a week.
was the first
no-frills brand of Stagecoach. It was first used in red lettering
on ex London Routemasters, otherwise painted in Stagecoach stripes,
in competition in Glasgow. Later, an allover blue with yellow lettering
was adopted, on older service buses with simple fares and no travel
passes, usually operated on routes with strong competition from
other operators, most notably on the Manchester Piccadilly to East
Road corridor) route in Greater Manchester, but also in Newcastle upon Tyne and East Scotland
(as Magic Mini).
In 2008 Stagecoach Merseyside
Magic Bus service competing with themselves and Arriva on the busy
route 14 corridor, Magic Bus 14C runs every 7/8 minutes between
City Centre and Broadway.
On 13 September 2005 Stagecoach and ComfortDelGro
joint venture in the provision of express coach services in
Scotland, ending intense competition between ComfortDelGro's
subsidiary Scottish Citylink
Stagecoach subsidiaries Megabus
. Under the terms of the
joint venture, the Stagecoach Group will acquire a 35% stake in
Scottish Citylink Coaches Ltd, with Citylink assuming certain
rights to the Megabus and Motorvator brands in Scotland.Megabus
operations in the rest of the UK are excluded from this agreement.
Despite being a minority shareholder, Stageocoach appears to have
assumed all but full control. Stagecoach staff have replaced much
of the former Citylink management, while Stagecoach subsidiaries
have begun operating many of the routes formerly operated by
subcontractors, albeit with vehicles in full Scottish Citylink
livery. Citylink frequencies and routes have also been sacrificed
in favour of Megabus where the two brands overlap.
The Competition Commission
ruled on 23 October 2006
that the joint venture substantially reduced
competition and that evidence suggested some routes were already
experiencing higher fares as a result. Though no firm conclusion
was drawn, regulators are to consult the two companies about what
they need to do to comply with competition regulations and they
have indicated that this will likely lead to the forced divestment
of some services to an independent operator. The ruling was
criticised by Stagecoach as leaving vital services in limbo and
jeopardising Scotland's intercity coach network, making it unable
to compete effectively with rail and private car journeys.
To satisfy the Commission, some Citylink routes were sold to
Parks Motor Group
Controversy was never far from Stagecoach as it expanded its bus
operations after deregulation. The company often found itself on
the wrong side of the Competition
and faced sharp media criticism over its predatory
approach to smaller operators. Bitter bus
broke out in towns and cities throughout Britain as
Stagecoach took on the local competition, often forcing the
competitor to abandon traditional markets and sometimes causing the
collapse of smaller operators. Practices included aggressive
pricing and timing, running services outside of its registered
routes, or registering routes to compete with other operators
rather than serve the public interest. In its hometown of Perth,
Stagecoach successfully forced the dominant operator Strathtay Scottish
to abandon local
services in the town. Similarly, Stagecoach subsidiary Bluebird Buses replaced Highland Scottish buses on most city
services in and around Inverness, and Ribble Motor
Services replaced the local operator in Lancaster.
1994 Stagecoach attracted particular criticism for its involvement
in the events of the Darlington Bus
, in which Stagecoach entered the Darlington bus market,
leading to the eventual collapse of Darlington Transport. This
would lead to an inquiry and subsequent reform in the regulatory
framework for bus operation in the UK.
Controversy also reappeared in 2005 in the Highlands
when the Magicbus
formulae was applied by Stagecoach East Scotland
minibuses as Magic Mini, to compete with Scotbus, with alleged
aggressive behaviour by Stagecoach drivers, resulting in an arson
fire at a Stagecoach East
garage. The company was engaged in a similar bus war
with Preston bus
, however this ended
with the purchase of Preston bus
The Stagecoach Group has also indirectly attracted criticism
through controversial statements and actions made by its chairman
and co-founder, Brian Souter
certain public statements and his funding of a campaign to block
the repeal the Section 28
law. In 2000,
spokesman Peter Tatchell, called
for a boycott
of the bus and rail
In 2007 two gay teens in Aberdeenshire were threatened with being
removed from the bus because one had his arm round the shoulders of
the second; 'hug-in' protests around Scotland then followed from
members of the Scottish
and gay rights activists, calling on Stagecoach
to apologise. For its part, Stagecoach has defended the actions of
- Stagecoach Group: Overview