Prior to the Transport Act 1980 stage carriage bus fares were controlled by conditions attached to road service licences by the Traffic Commissioners. In October 1980 the Act removed such control in all but exceptional circumstances. The study discussed in this report was designed to track the development of stage carriage bus fares in a sample of areas from January 1978 to January 1983 to discover whether or not any significant differences between the pre- and post-Act periods could be discerned. The results indicated that there had been no increase in the rate of magnitude of fare rises, that there was some evidence of moves away from overall fare scales by large public bus companies, that promotional fares were being used on a wider scale, that most fare agreements set up in sites of competition prior to the Act were holding, that there were relatively few examples of new competition and that the use of Traffic Commissioner reserve powers to prevent either undercutting or over-pricing was almost non-existent. Because of the limited emergence of new competition, it appeared that factors other than the Act had had a greater influence on the general course of events: these were the economic recession, the falling rate of inflation, the outcome of local government elections in May 1981 and the differing subsidy policies of county councils. (A)

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