The bus services operated in the cities of Aberdeen, Plymouth and Southampton before and after 26 October 1986 ('deregulation day') have been compared to investigate the effect of the 1985 Transport Act. In each city the main provider of services was a municipally owned undertaking. A commercially available computer model, Busmodel, was used to estimate the patronage and revenues of each service operated and to produce an index of profitability. In all three cities, the profitability index as calculated by Busmodel was found to be a good indicator of which services were registered for commercial operation. In particular, those services not registered were shown to have very low earnings. The main conclusion from the study is that, initially at least, deregulation of the bus industry has not caused major changes to the bus services in these three municipal areas. Only in Aberdeen has competition occurred, and in each of the three cities, the new network of commercial and subsidised routes provides a similar service to that operated previously.

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