Select Committee on Environmental Audit Written Evidence


Memorandum submitted by Dr Roger Sexton, Department of Academic Legal Studies, Nottingham Trent University

BUS DEREGULATION INCREASES CARBON EMISSIONS

1.  THE BACKGROUND—THE AIM OF DEREGULATION

  Bus deregulation was introduced in 1986 in the hope that competition between bus operators would increase ridership, reduce fares, and entice people out of their cars onto more environmentally friendly transport.

  Britain is unique in the Western world in having a deregulated system. The editor of a highly respected German transport magazine Stadtverkehr once described British bus deregulation as "Driite Welt" ie "Third World". I agree.

2.  THE CONSEQUENCES OF DEREGULATION

  Except in a few isolated areas, the expected growth in bus usage simply has not happened. Rather the reverse. Outside London (which remains regulated) usage continues to fall. Fares are high. In particular any journey which involves using buses of more than one operator can become very expensive.

3.  DEREGULATION—AN ENVIRONMENTAL DISASTER

    (a)  Urban areas. In many urban areas (Manchester is the extreme) there are too many buses chasing too few passengers. Buses, which should be a cure to environmental and congestion problems, are seen by many as a cause of such problems.

    (b)  Rural areas. Bus services are inadequate (often non-existent in the evenings and on Sundays). There is no alternative but to use the car.

4.  DEREGULATED BUSES COMPETING WITH MORE ENVIRONMENTALLY FRIENDLY MODES

  A well-filled diesel bus is more environmentally friendly than the same number of people traveling alone in their cars. But it is much less environmentally than a tram or trolleybus (or a gas-driven bus).

  When the Germans, Swiss, Dutch etc are considering building a new tram route, one question they will always ask their planners is, "How many diesel buses will be taken off the road?". That is because in regulated continental Europe, if a tram route is built, parallel bus routes are reduced or withdrawn. In deregulated Britain that does not usually happen. Just visit the Hilsborough area of Sheffield to see how daft things can become.

5.  CONCLUSION—FRANCHISED BUS SERVICES

  Britain should scrap deregulation and adopt the regulatory franchising system operating in Sweden. In particular, the committee should visit J½nk½ping to see a very environmentally friendly bus system, and where the main bus franchisee is the British company Arriva.



 
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