National Express is the best value operator in price sensitive transportation markets, combining the benefits of scale and diversity with deep understanding of the local markets in which we operate.
This international-local balance drives a number of competitive advantages:
We engage our customers through clear marketing and branding
We invest in our consumer brands to ensure the value in our products is understood by our customers. The National Express and ALSA brands are household names and stand for safety, consistency, reliability and affordability. We promote these values in our brands to help drive purchasing decisions.
We prioritise safe operations
The Group operates consistent, world-class safety policies in all markets, supported by leading edge technology. Our focus on Driving Out Harm supports our primary goal – to get customers to their destination safely.
We operate at scale
We seek leadership positions in the markets in which we operate. In the UK and Spain, our long haul coach operations are market leaders. In urban bus and transit, we are focusing on growing urban markets around the world – for example in 2017 we grew in London, New York, Chicago, Madrid and Geneva.
We enforce consistent global policies and processes
Our global Master Driver and Master Technician programmes drive a consistently high standard of capability across our markets. Consistency and standardisation in turn allow costs to be optimised to enable us to offer best value to our customers.
We deploy new technologies rapidly across the Group
The Group consistently applies technology to improve our customer offering (eg deploying free wifi on our premium bus services in the West Midlands, development of VUER in our UK coach business, development of mobile apps, web interfaces and customer portals); to grow the business (eg RMS in our coach businesses in the UK and Spain, and on-demand scheduling through our Ecolane tool in North America); and to drive operational excellence (eg the global roll-out of Lytx DriveCam in support of our global safety policies).
We operate a balanced and resilient portfolio
Because of the contract nature of a material portion of our business, less than 50% of our revenues vary based on passenger demand, and we are therefore less exposed to changes in travel patterns caused by economic cycles. In addition, the nature of some of our main contracts (eg in school bus transportation) means that we are less of a target for technological disruption (from unregulated technology-based companies who target market share growth at a loss) than others who participate in only B2C markets. Our diversification means that no one contract accounts for more than 4% of revenue. All of this helps us to generate cash consistently, allowing us to invest prudently over the medium to long term, and to minimise our financial risk.