The 1985 Transport Act (see IRRD 825564) 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 passenger transport companies (PTC) saw competitive threats from independent companies and the newly privatised National Bus Company (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 PTC's, a large proportion of ex-BNC and Scottish Bus companies operating in the Metropolitan areas and a sample of the smaller independent operators in these areas. The report identifies reductions in wage rates amongst platform staff and describes the changes that have occurred with regard to working practices since deregulation. Using a sample of bus operators, analysis has been carried out on the changes in productivity and operating cost as a consequence of these revised wages and conditions. For related work see IRRD 826538.

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