Thursday, 28 June 2012
Arriva has announced it has bought Ambuline. Who? Yes, I wondered about that. They employ 240 people on health service transport in the midlands and Yorkshire. Add this to the January contract win to undertake East Midlands non-emergency health transport—that will now transfer to Ambuline—and purchases such as Wardle Transport, a bus operator but also a specialist school transport provider (including wheelchair services) and you get a sense of how this is developing. As more and more health service ambulance trusts look to contract out all but its emergency provision, expect the market to grow considerably.
Whereas Go Ahead has been looking for expansion recently through a more traditional bus service route (pardoning any pun), is Arriva on the right track? No messiness in terms of collecting fares. No need to take too much revenue & cost risk. Contract payments regularly every month. A pool of work that’s likely to expand and, as in East Midlands now coming under the Ambuline wing, the possibility of regionalisation and economies of scale.
On the other hand, the Go South Coast expansion beyond its means in Dorset to include local buses. School transport by bus & coach, school transport by taxi & minibus and social care—everything bar the kitchen sink—has a considerable amount of short-term pain though with the prospect of long-term gain.
And the greatest possibility of all potentially for Arriva: community transport. This seems to be a subset of all this fringe transport. Wouldn’t community transport go together well with other specialised transport provision such as non-emergency health services and social care? Surely an opportunity for those who can spot it, as local transport authorities look towards this sort of thing as a bus service replacement.
It’s interesting that Stagecoach isn’t testing the waters (unless you know differently).
Ambuline. Not to be confused with Amberline.
Posted Thursday, June 28, 2012