Fresh Covid clampdown derails plan at Go-Ahead: Government’s work from home U-turn set hits bus and train operators
Plans to restore rail and bus services to normality have been ditched by one of Britain’s biggest transport operators because of fresh coronavirus restrictions.
David Brown, the boss of Go-Ahead Group, said his company had been hoping to increase capacity on buses – until the Government’s work from home U-turn this week.
Passenger numbers on buses and trains plummeted during the virus lockdown, with usage recovering in recent weeks but still remaining far below normal levels.
Hard road: Passenger numbers on buses and trains plummeted during the virus lockdown, with usage recovering in recent weeks but still remaining far below normal levels
Go-Ahead, which commands about 11 per cent of the UK regional bus market, yesterday revealed it had swung into a loss of £200,000 in the year ended June 27, after making a £97million profit last year.
That came despite its revenues rising by 6 per cent to £3.9billion.
Brown said: ‘We were starting to believe over the last week that things were going to get back to normal.’
But restrictions put in place this week are expected to hit passenger levels again.
After weeks of saying that employees who could return to their workplace should, the Prime Minister on Tuesday asked them to again work from home if possible.
The change is expected to result in fewer white-collar workers using public transport to get to work.
Brown questioned why people can go to a pub but are advised against all but essential travel and insisted that buses and trains were safe if passengers wore masks and followed social distancing rules.
Go-Ahead’s regional buses are carrying between 50 per cent and 60 per cent of their pre-Covid passenger numbers.