Bus deregulation in Great Britain

Bus Deregulation In Great Britain

Bus deregulation in Great Britain

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Bus deregulation in Great Britain came into force on 26 October 1986, as part of the Transport Act 1985.

The 'Buses' White Paper (under the Conservative government of Margaret Thatcher) was the basis of the Transport Act 1985, which provided for the deregulation of local bus services in the whole of the United Kingdom except for Northern Ireland and Greater London. It proposed the abolition of road service licensing and allowed for the introduction of competition on local bus services for the first time since the 1930s.

Two kinds of bus service can be provided: commercial and subsidised. Any bus operator can run whatever commercial services it wants to as long as it gives 56 days notice of an introduction of a new service, withdrawal of a service or timetable changes. Commercial services are those provided without any subsidy (except for the provision of concessionary fares and the mileage-based subsidy which offsets most fuel duty) and there are no restrictions on fares.

There is no need for an operator to cross-subsidise services under deregulation. Cross-subsidy (where the profits from better paying services are used to pay for unprofitable routes) was an essential part of the previous regulated system. Despite this, operators sometimes cross-subsidise to maintain a network at all times of the day so to keep customer loyalty or so to maintain the attractiveness of that company's travelcard (one which is only valid on that operator).

If there are gaps in the commercial...
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