Profits also on the up
FirstGroup has reported a 3.2 per cent in half year revenue to £3.169 billion.
Adjusted pre-tax profits in the six months to September 30 increased nine per cent to £84.5 million.
Only the US school bus First Student arm showed a decline in profitability, partly down to a hangover from poor performance last year, with other divisions showing growth.
UK Rail was once again the star performer with like for like passenger revenues up nine per cent.
Net debt in the period dipped six per cent to £2.06bn with the company proposing a seven per cent rise in dividend to 7.62p.
Tim O'Toole, chief executive of the Aberdeen business, said: "Group trading for the first half of the current financial year is in line with our expectations.
"In First Student we are executing our plan to address performance and strengthen the operating model and I am encouraged by the positive early indicators.
"At Greyhound our actions to transform the business are delivering results with good revenue growth and margin improvement. First Transit continues to deliver growth and has a strong pipeline of further opportunities.
"In our UK Bus operations, which are focused in high density urban areas, our priorities are to manage the immediate challenges presented by a softening macroeconomic outlook and reduced funding to the industry while also taking the necessary forward looking decisions to equip the business to deliver increased growth.
"Strong passenger demand continues across all of our rail operations and we look forward to building on our market leading position and developing further opportunities once the Department for Transport's new rail franchising programme commences in 2012."
It was confirmed Nick Chevis, who has been with First since 1997, will become acting finance director when Jeff Carr leaves this month.
First Scotrail is starting a £4m project to refurbish its Class 334 fleet this month.
It is planning to use hot water sprinklers to remove snow and ice from train undercarriages this winter as well as the heated 'skirts' and polytunnels used last year.