This report summarises the effects of the 1985 Transport Act, commonly known as bus deregulation, in the Metropolitan Areas. Despite wide variations in the proportions of bus services registered by operators initially as commercial, all PTEs (Passenger Transport Executives) were able to afford to issue contracts for socially necessary services. Many operators encountered operational difficulties on deregulation day, 26th October 1986, as there were many changes to services. These difficulties were overcome and service levels have increased. However, services are still changing frequently as operators react to commercial opportunities. The new companies set up by the Passenger Transport Executives to take over their bus operations made major reductions in staff and operating costs. Private operators have increased their share of the market dramatically. Competition between operators has increased, both on the road and in bidding for tendered services. There has been little competition on fares. Moreover, average fare levels have risen substantially. Patronage has decreased and by more than would have been expected from the changes in fares and service levels. Passenger attitudes were less favourable to the changes than those in the shire counties. Concessionary fare schemes have been maintained and extended to children and other special groups. Travelcard schemes have generally been maintained, and new travelcards have been introduced by some operators.

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