Stagecoach demand soars

Stagecoach, which runs commuter routes including South West Trains into Waterloo, enjoyed a 9.5 per cent surge in demand for tickets on its rail routes in the past 10 months.

Virgin Rail, in which it owns a 49 per cent stake, saw ticket sales rise 8.9 per cent in the period, while demand from bus passengers rose by 3 per cent on the same time a year earlier.

Stagecoach said that it was "progressing its bid" for the new West Coast Trains rail franchise.

Gert Zonneveld at Panmure Gordon, said: "Prospects for long-term growth in passenger transport are good, given environmental concerns, increasing road congestion and higher motoring costs."