Local authorities in Scotland are being urged to “maximise the power of the bus” to benefit communities as new research published today shows that...

Local authorities in Scotland are being urged to “maximise the power of the bus” to benefit communities as new research published today shows that Stagecoach supports almost £200m a year in value to Scotland’s economy.

Independent research carried out by the Centre for Economics and Business Research (Cebr) shows that Stagecoach’s aggregate contribution across the country is £1.63billion a year in Gross Value Added (GVA)1, with £198m of the overall contribution in Scotland.

Stagecoach, which was founded in Perth in 1980, runs bus and coach services within the Highlands and Islands of Scotland and major towns and cities such as Inverness, Aberdeen, Dundee, Edinburgh, and Glasgow, across its four businesses; Stagecoach Bluebird, Stagecoach Highlands, Stagecoach East Scotland and Stagecoach West Scotland, along with the Scottish Citylink business (a joint venture with Comfort DelGro). It carries over 70 million passengers every year in Scotland, employing around 3,200 people and runs over 1,200 buses and coaches.

It is Britain’s biggest bus and coach operator and one of the country’s largest private sector employers, providing direct employment for 24,000 in total people across the UK and supporting a further 10,000 jobs. In total, Stagecoach supports one in every 1,000 jobs in the UK.

The new report ‘How we support Britain’s economy and communities’, also demonstrates the wider benefits and financial savings that Stagecoach transport services deliver by reducing congestion, making the nation more active, protecting the environment and supporting safer communities.

Stagecoach Chief Executive Martin Griffiths said: “We’re proud to have kept Scotland connected for the past 40 years. This new report shows the huge positive impact of our transport services to the economy and our communities right across the country.

“As regions across the country face up to the challenges of congested roads, declining air quality, ill-health and pressure on our high streets, it is vital that local authorities maximise the power of the bus to deliver safer, healthier and more prosperous places for people to live.”

Cebr analysis shows people using Stagecoach buses rather than cars helps avoid millions of pounds of wasted resources every year, with the savings able to be invested in better public services:

Safer communities: £44.2million saved in costs associated with road traffic accidents such as loss of earnings, medical costs, emergency services and damage to vehicles, which could fund more than 750 extra salaried GPs.
Healthier communities: £13.3million saved in healthcare costs, which is the equivalent to the costs of over 83,000 people being seen in A&E
Cleaner communities: £12.4million saved in emissions costs, which could power 9,800 homes for a year
More mobile communities: £343 million in potential congestion-related savings from a reduction of 22 billion miles of traffic. Each double decker bus can take more than 70 cars off the road.
Stagecoach continues to deliver direct significant benefits to Britain’s economy and communities, paying £710million a year in wages and employee benefits, as well as generating £220million in income-related tax contributions.

Cristian Niculescu-Marcu, Director of Analysis and Head of Microeconomics at Cebr, said: “Stagecoach makes a substantial economic and social contribution to the UK economy, supporting one in every 1,000 jobs and underpinning regional communities across the country.

“As well as its direct impact, Stagecoach’s transport services help reduce congestion, lower physical inactivity, and cut road traffic accidents. The company also plays a major role in cutting greenhouse gas emissions at a time when there is greater focus than ever before on measures to address the climate emergency.”

From spring 2020, Stagecoach will deliver the first vehicles as part of a £13m investment in what is one of the biggest orders of new electric buses in Europe. A total of nearly 50 new e-buses are being introduced in Greater Manchester and Caerphilly, South Wales. By the end of 2020, Stagecoach will have more electric vehicles than any other major UK bus operator. Carbon emissions from Stagecoach businesses have been reduced by 14% over the past five years as a result of a package of measures introduced as part of the company’s sustainability strategy. During 2020, Stagecoach will also start trials of the UK’s first autonomous bus operating over the Forth Road Bridge, providing services between Ferrytoll Park & Ride in Fife and the Edinburgh Park train and tram interchange.

Last month, Stagecoach launched a new look for its buses as part of a wider commitment to make using public transport easier. Stagecoach has delivered the biggest roll-out of contactless technology by any bus operator in Britain to simplify ticketing. It has also launched a new bus app, featuring a new online travel-planning tool that provides customers with real-time tracking of their bus service on an interactive map.

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