Memorandum submitted by Dr Roger Sexton,
Department of Academic Legal Studies, Nottingham Trent University
BUS DEREGULATION INCREASES CARBON EMISSIONS
1. THE BACKGROUNDTHE
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
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".
2. THE CONSEQUENCES
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.
(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.
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if a tram route is built, parallel bus routes are reduced or withdrawn.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.
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.