- Inter-city bus and coach group National Express said trading has been slightly above its previous guidance in a trading update released today (Thursday 24 September).

The company said its previous base case was for revenues to be around 50% of pre-Covid 19 levels until the end of August 2020. However, tightened cash controls have had a positive effect on EBITDA and cashflows.

In the UK, further coach services had been added to its route network where social distancing enabled a commercial expansion.

The company said that it has been “encouraged” by high demand for the coaches it is operating.

“We continue to be pleased that our strong customer relationships are sustaining high levels of revenue during the pandemic's on-going uncertainty,” said Chris Davies, interim group chief executive and group finance director. “We are grateful to our customers and the public authorities who have recognised the essential role our services play in maintaining the ability of people to get to work and to keep the economy functioning, even during such challenging times.”

The company’s bus businesses in the West Midlands and Dundee were performing ahead of expectations, with the West Midlands operations carrying 58% of last year’s patronage and Dundee carrying 61%. Both businesses have seen costs underwritten by the national transport authorities during the coronavirus outbreak.

In North America, the group is operating services on 65% of its school bus routes. It also won a $40 million, five year, paratransit contract for up to 75 vehicles in Fresno, California.

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