Long-term development of express coach services in Britain

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Authors: White, P. and Robbins, D.

Journal: Research in Transportation Economics

Volume: 36

Issue: 1

Pages: 30-38

ISSN: 0739-8859

DOI: 10.1016/j.retrec.2012.03.012

Express coach services compete for longer distance market with car and rail, and largely cater for the leisure, tourism, and visiting friends and relatives. markets. Britain deregulated its express coach system in 1980, and it is now opportune to examine long-term impacts of that change. The initial impacts were reviewed by the authors in 1986 (Robbins & White, 1986) but such impacts do not necessarily match long-term outcomes. Monitoring of the British system has been conducted by examining service changes and data on ridership, together with financial performance of the main operator groups and technical press coverage. It can be shown that a dominant position has been retained by the major operator (National Express), with a continued decline in the role of smaller independent operators in the all-year-round daily network. However, new competition has emerged from other large groups (most notably Stagecoach 'Megabus' in 2003). The paper analyses the operating and marketing strategies of the new operator and contrasts these strategies with those adopted in the 1980s. Implications for the future development of the network in Britain are outlined. © 2012 Elsevier Ltd.

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