Where every £1 of your Brighton & Hove bus fare goes

Brighton & Hove Buses has published a detailed infographic showing where its revenue comes from and how it's spent to help passengers gauge the value of their fares.

Brighton & Hove Buses Managing Director Martin Harris said the company already published its accounts annually, but he wanted something that would be more meaningful to customers.

"I want to be more open and transparent about how we spend passengers' money and I'm going to keep sharing this information so that our customers can judge the value of their fares and the services we provide for themselves," Martin said.

The infographic also highlights the significant cost of the company's commitment to a fleet of buses with zero emissions by 2030, estimated to cost around £172 million in total - about £14.3 million a year - at today's prices.

"I am wholly committed to playing our part in improving the quality of the air we breathe. Buses are already ahead of the game and emit far fewer toxins than cars but even we can't afford to delay," Martin said.

"A good bus service is part of the fabric of the community it serves. I think its value is something far greater than taking people to where they need to go.

"A good bus service sustains and connects communities and lives and reduces social exclusion. It supports the economy by taking people to work, shops and leisure activities and it reduces deprivation.

"It plays a critical role in the health and welfare of the community by making strenuous efforts to improve the environment. I think these are things we all value."

The company has had good feedback on its bus services. Customer satisfaction levels reached 91% in the most recent passenger survey and punctuality levels are at 85% (based on the industry definition, though we aim for 95% and higher). It also runs 596 night journeys every week.

In addition, 80% of passengers get on frequent buses, defined as being up to - every 15 minutes or better - and the company provides seven days a week customer support.

Where the money comes from

Most of the company's revenue - three quarters of it - comes from passenger fares (75.7%).

A further 16% of revenue comes from councils, who reimburse the company for free concessionary travel under a national funding formula. Repayments are designed so bus operators don't make a profit or a loss but they are considerably lower than a typical fare.

Subsidies account for only 3.8% of company revenue and this comes from council tendered services, Breeze up the Downs, and a handful of school buses. A further 4.2% comes from the company's coaching business, private hire, advertising, commercial contracts and tours.

How the money is spent

Wages are by far the biggest outlay, as you would expect in a service industry. Around 48p in every pound goes to paying the wages of 1522 employees, three-quarters of whom are bus drivers, with an average salary of £25,000. Another 5p is spent on staff national insurance contributions.

A quarter of spending goes to external suppliers, mostly for fuel and spare bus parts. Our fuel costs have risen as we increasingly use renewable fuels.

Around 11p of every pound is held as reserves to cover future investments, payments to our only shareholder (Go Ahead) and to finance borrowing. The largest future investment is securing a zero-emissions bus fleet by 2030.

Our capital investment works out at 8p in the pound. This covers money already spent on even lower emissions buses, building maintenance and bus depots. It's an unavoidable expense. Congestion means Brighton & Hove Buses needs to spend £1m on four new buses every year just to maintain service levels.

Tens of thousands of pounds are spent on community initiatives such as free travel for homeless people, a student hardship fund, free tickets for charities, schools and community groups and the Helping Hand assistive card for people with disabilities.

The infographic covers the company's two bus operations, Brighton & Hove Buses and Metrobus which together handle 66 million passenger journeys each year across Sussex, Kent and Surrey. This involves 430 different bus routes and covers 3,000 bus stops.

Ends

View the detailed infographic here