One effect of the Transport Act 1980 was to stimulate development of long-distance commuter coach services. A study of developments up to January 1983 is reported. Due to its large volume of long-distance commuting, London has attracted most initiatives, with steady growth following the Act in both private and public sectors. By January 1983 roughly 185 commuter coaches served London daily carrying about 7,500 passengers each way. Of these about 6,800 were regular commuters who represented 5-6 percent of the total long-distance commuting market, although a rather higher proportion from certain localities. Further potential for increased activity may exist. Most coach users previously travelled by rail, lower fares being the major reason for change. The trade-off between lower fares and slower journey speeds suggests services have their greatest potential over distances of roughly 20-40 miles. Patronage developed only slowly in many areas with operators running at a loss for some months initially before reaching financial viability. In the area of commuter coaching the Act thus succeeded in generating new services and in giving the public more choice, with gains to both users and coach operators, although at the expense of revenue loss on other modes of travel (notably rail and underground services). (A)

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