The quantity control of bus services in Great Britain (outside London) was abolished a year ago, and local authority financial support became subject to competitive tendering. While the transition to the new regime is now complete, bus services are still undergoing continual change. Immediately after deregulation, the number of vehicle miles was some four per cent higher than in 1985-86, although there were significant increases in some places and decreases in others - particularly in the metropolitan areas. In the subsequent year there has been further, steady growth, amounting to nine per cent overall. The rate of change of fares has generally been unaffected, except where fares have been reduced in response to competition, and in metropolitan areas where they have risen as a result of expenditure limits imposed on Passenger Transport Authorities. Early passenger statistics (to March 1987) indicate a slight decline in patronage in non-metropolitan areas since 1985-86, and a more marked one in metropolitan areas, reflecting public dissatisfaction with the changes there. The effect on patronage of service improvements since April 1987 is yet to be measured. Bus service subsidies have increased during the year, but are still at a lower level than before deregulation. (A)

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