Ownership and control of the urban stage bus industry continues to be an intensively debated topic in both the developed and developing world. Proponents of private sector ownership and free competition argue that such conditions generate an efficient and effective stage bus service. Others promote varying levels of government control and involvement, including ownership, because of market imperfections and a loss in social welfare. Whilst it is impossible to be definitive on the subject from either standpoint, new case study material frequently highlights the effects (both positive and negative) of government or private ownership on the performance of stage bus services in the developing world. This report therefore adds to the debate by discussing the reasons for and objectives of the Government of Zimbabwe's decision in 1988 to invest and participate directly in the provision of urban stage bus services in the major towns and cities of Zimbabwe. The initial effects of this process in Harare, the capital of Zimbabwe, are discussed using operational, financial and service level data from pre Government involvement to the present day. Whilst it is too soon to make a final assessment of Government involvement the trends illustrated allow an interim assessment to be made. (A)

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