Tuesday, 26 August 2014
Report rues deregulation
The IPPR has issued a report that calls bus deregulation outside of London a failure. What was promoted as a way to bring better services and lower fares has in many cases brought fewer services and fares that are so high, many people find it cheaper to drive or use taxis. BBC News and the Guardian report on the report, while the Independent has an editorial on the issue.
London's regulated, but still privatised, system comes in for praise. Its success is backed up by a 99% rise in passenger numbers since 1986. Over the same period, passengers numbers across the UK excluding London have dropped by around a third.
The big difference in London of course is the level of subsidy the bus network receives, which is per capita far in excess of that granted to any other region of the UK.
As an illustration of the parallel universe that passengers outside London have to contend with, MPs in Warrington are lining up to criticise fare rises at Warrington Borough Transport of up to 65%, which were implemented in August. Full story in the Warrington Guardian.
Which other industry could get away with a 65% price rise overnight? There is a lot of innovation in the bus industry, but it is often far too patchy and companies have frequently lost sight of how things appear from the point of view of the existing or prospective customer, not to mention the wider economic and social impact of service changes.