Early findings on the effects of deregulation of bus services in scotland

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Authors: Hills, P.J.

Journal: Transportation Planning and Technology

Volume: 15

Issue: 2-4

Pages: 315-329

eISSN: 1029-0354

ISSN: 0308-1060

DOI: 10.1080/03081069108717461

The 1985 Transport Act in the UK drastically changed the framework for the supply of local bus services. Its provisions, commonly described as “deregulation,” removed quantity control from local (formerly stage-carriage) bus services by abolishing Road Service Licences. Competitive tendering was also introduced for any service which a local authority wished to subsidise on the grounds of social need. In making these provisions, the Government foresaw that competition would result, which (it was argued) would lead to more efficient provision of services, thereby reducing the financial cost of services both to passengers and to taxpayers, whilst improving the quality of service. In England and Wales, the privatisation of the National Bus Company was proposed but, in Scotland, the Scottish Bus Group (SBG) was not to be privatised under the 1985 Act. Subsequently, however, the Secretary of State for Scotland has announced the Government's intention to privatise SBG as well. Considerable interest has arisen, of course, in the effects which deregulation might have and a number of studies have been or are being carried out. This paper is based upon a report of the results of eight area studies in Scotland, undertaken by the Transport Operations Research Group (TORG) of the University of Newcastle upon Tyne on behalf of the Central Research Unit of the Scottish Development Department (SDD). © 1991, Taylor & Francis Group, LLC. All rights reserved.

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