Transport Committee report on bus competition in England

Report and evidence (353 pages, 3.1M PDF) of the Transport Select Committee's inquiry into bus services in England outside London, particularly in PTA/PTE areas. The report endorses re-regulation (e.g. quality contracts), and expresses concern at the fact that no PTE has sought to implement such a franchising system "despite their evident dissatisfaction with the present arrangements". It suggests that PTEs should be able to implement this system without needing to show that it is the only practicable way of implementing their strategy.

Despite this support for re-regulation/franchising, Transport Commissioners (who licence services in the competitive market) are congratulated for their work and the Committee seeks additional resources for them.

Other recommendations include a study into the minimum profit levels that bus operators require to survive, and a "thorough review" of the "ridiculous" Competition Act 1998 restrictions on through-ticketing and service co-ordination. The Committee claims that the OFT is "wrong" to take the view that, in general, bus services are not competitively constrained by car transport.

The Government is also offered some advice on concessionary fares — the Committee appears inclined to the view that the uniform systems implemented in Scotland and Wales would be preferable to the diversity of schemes used by English local authorities outside London.

For further information or advice please contact Franck Latrémolière.

Filed under Public transport, UK parliaments.

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