The 1986 Transport Act created a competitive environment in the provision of local bus services, with strong pressures on companies to reduce operating costs. This was particularly the case in the Metropolitan areas where substantial reductions in subsidy had followed the demise of the Metropolitan Counties and the newly created PTCs saw competitive threats from independent companies and the newly privatised NBC operating subsidiaries. In a labour intensive industry it is inevitable that cost-reduction will affect wage rates and working practices. This report reviews changes in these in the Metropolitan areas over the period 1983/1988. It is based on a series of interviews with operators carried out during November 1988 to January 1989, covering all Metropolitan PTCs, a large proportion of ex-NBC and SBG companies operating in the Metropolitan areas and a sample of the smaller independent operators in these areas. The report identifies reductions in wage rates for drivers which have occurred since deregulation and describes the changes in working practices associated with these.

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