|Title||As assessment of the Competition Commission Report and subsequent outcomes|
Following the Office of Fair Trading's review of the British deregulated bus market as a whole in 2009, the issues raised were referred to the Competition Commission. Its final report was published in December 2011. Subsequently, the House of Commons Transport Committee carried out an enquiry into the Commission's report, and reactions to it by the operating industry, user groups, and other bodies, which was published in September 2012. A number of major issues have been raised, including the extent to which price competition may be effective, the appropriate rate of return on capital that would be expected within the industry (and appropriate actions where this is excessive in practice), and industry structure. The importance of competition per se, as distinct from attributes of direct concern to users (such as reliability, frequency, and fares) has also been debated. This paper reviews the issues raised, and outcomes to date, in the light of further evidence on the industry's performance. It is demonstrated similar rates of return could be attained through very different operating strategies, which in turn have very different implications for changes in consumer surplus. The alternative uses made of such profits (for example through reinvestment) may also have markedly different impacts effects on users. Rather than focussing on the dangers of excessive rates of return on capital, the outcomes for service users should be the main issue.
|Journal||Research in Transportation Economics|
|Journal citation||48, pp. 277-285|
|Accepted author manuscript|
|Digital Object Identifier (DOI)||doi:10.1016/j.retrec.2014.09.053|
|Published||07 Nov 2014|
|License||CC BY-NC-ND 4.0|