Local public transport

Authored by: Didier M. van de Velde

The Routledge Companion to Network Industries

Print publication date:  November  2015
Online publication date:  November  2015

Print ISBN: 9781138782822
eBook ISBN: 9781315768984
Adobe ISBN: 9781317668084


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The organization of local public transport has undergone considerable change over the past 20 to 30 years. De facto area monopolies by municipal or state-owned companies dominated the sector in many European countries until the 1980s, with smaller local businesses only playing a marginal role under route authorization regimes. A very different and mixed picture has emerged since. Multinational private operators have appeared alongside municipally-owned operators and a decreasing number of local family businesses. Operators affiliated to state-owned railway companies that operate outside of their country of origin play a growing role in the sector. Time-limited exclusive rights submitted to contractual requirements, including various sets of financial incentives, have increasingly replaced old de facto area monopolies with ex post subsidization. Competition is playing a growing role as a means of organizing the production of public transport services, particularly through the competitive tendering of contracts, but also via deregulation.

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