Topic: 1.2 Metro bus

A complete indexing and article service is available free from 1967 to 2000

Economies of Scale in Bus transport: I. Some British Municipal Results

This study was prompted by the proposal to merge a number of municipal transport undertakings into Passenger transport Authorities. The authors analyse figures showing various working expenses per bus-mile, and find no evidence of scale economies. They point out, however, that the P.T.A.s will be larger than any undertaking in their sample, and that a different conclusion might conceivably be reached if data were available on costs per passenger-mile. Extension of one-man operation appears to offer greater scope for economies than amalgamation.

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Alternative Tendering Systems and Deregulation in Britain

When UK bus services were deregulated in 1985 a system of competitive tendering was introduced for the provision of socially necessary services. Payment to the operator can be either the net difference between cost and revenue or the gross (total) cost of the service. While the former is attractive, a comparison of both methods indicates the overall cost to the contracting authority is generally lower under the gross cost method, due to the reduced risk perceived by the operator.

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The Cost of Bus Operations in Norway

This study investigates the efficiency of Norwegian bus companies. The developed model permits the consideration of the effects on costs for differences in scale, technological conditions, ownership structure and subsidy policy.

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A Product Differentiation Model of Bus Deregulation

Consumers, influenced by their incomes, are assumed to opt for private or public transport as a long-term decision. Those who have opted for public transport then choose particular services which are least costly in terms of both price and convenience. This two-stage framework involves both vertical and horizontal product differentiation, and yields a new perspective on bus deregulation. Allocative inefficiency from deregulation can be substantial, and can amount to a third of the costs of operating the bus system.

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Bus Deregulation: A Welfare Balance Sheet

A substantial reduction in operating cost per bus-kilometre through improved productivity is shown. However, substantial losses to users through higher fares and service instability emerge. Large increases in bus-kilometres operated did not produce any aggregate increase in ridership, but offset much of the reduction in unit cost. Overall, a small net benefit is shown in the metropolitan areas, but a net loss elsewhere. In contrast, London (subject to a competitive tendering system) shows no user or worker losses, and a substantial net benefit through higher productivity.

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Competition and the Structure of Local Bus Markets

The aim of entry is to capture monopoly profits by displacing the incumbent or colluding. However, entrants have generally failed to do this. Incumbents have better local knowledge, and are often financially stronger. Contrary to the Government\’s expectation on deregulation, the effect of potential entrants in controlling monopoly operators is weak.

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The Effects of Bus Deregulation on Costs

This paper attempts to explain how published cost savings have been achieved and particularly the impact of changes in wages and working practices within the context of deregulation and privatisation. Amongst metropolitan PTCs almost 19 per cent of a total unit cost reduction of 31 per cent was achieved by productivity improvements. Reductions in wages can only account for 4-8 per cent of cost savings while non-labour costs account for less than 5 per cent. The process of privatisation may be the most influential factor in reducing costs.

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