Abellio London Bus runs 786 buses on 51 London routes, equating to 9% of the market in the capital, for the client Transport for London (TfL).
In 2022 the company commenced two new TfL route contracts, including its first double deck electric vehicles. It also received confirmation of future contract awards which resulted in five of the six depots running electric bus routes from the middle of 2022. This means that more than 10% of the fleet is operating with zero emissions.
The impacts of the high inflation prevalent across 2022 were significant. As well as this having an adverse impact on costs, there has been an increase in the cost of living resulting in bus drivers seeking an above inflation pay rise. Abellio London Bus has been engaging with the Unite the Union for several months on a new pay award to ensure that supports staff through the cost-of-living crisis whilst being affordable to the company. Despite discussions, Unite has taken its members out on 13 days of strike action in late 2022. After exhausting the pay negotiation process, Abellio London Bus implemented a pay increase on 31 December, seeking to end the pay dispute and ensure staff received increased pay for them to combat the increased cost of living. However, the pay award for 2023 remains unresolved as at 31 December 2022. Management continues to engage with union officials and are confident that a resolution will be achieved in the coming period. An agreement was reached on the remuneration for 2023 in February 2023.
The company has opened a new operating centre and an engineering facility These additions in west London, replacing a depot closed the previous year, have strengthened facilities for bus service operation, and improved to the prospects for acquiring additional TfL routes.
In the Abellio ancillary businesses, Abellio Rail Replacement (ARR) provides alternative transport services, such as coaches, buses, and taxis, to the Abellio Train Operating Companies (EMR, WMT and GA), as well as non-Abellio TOCs including Caledonian Sleeper, Transport for Wales and ScotRail Trains Limited.
With the introduction of the National Rail Contracts, intercompany rail replacement services had to be retendered in 2021. Due to a challenge from a bidding party around the procurement process in 2021 that was conducted by a third-party entity, these services have had to be retendered again in 2022. The outcome of the intercompany rail replacement tenders is outstanding, and therefore it is uncertain whether ARR will be able to retain these contracts. The ScotRail rail replacement contract, which was previously with the intercompany Abellio ScotRail until 31 March 2022, expires on 31 March 2023 and a tender process is underway with the aim of retaining this contract.
Event Connect supplies ground transport solutions to major sporting events, tour operators and corporate clients. This market, which was impacted severely by COVID, recovered significantly in 2022, and Abellio continue to invest in this area to develop its offering.
Abellio London Bus (in € million)
Rail Replacement (Intercompany)
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