The 1985 Transport Act deregulated the bus industry in Great Britain. The Act included various measures aimed at encouraging small bus companies to compete with each other. This report describes the results of one of a series of case studies which was set up to monitor the effects of the 1985 Act. This case study focuses on competition in the Whitehaven area between an established operator - a subsidiary of the National Bus Company - and three small independent operators which had concentrated largely on running private hire services in the past. Monitoring began in October 1986, shortly before the 1985 Act took effect, and continued for just over a year. The report summarises the changes associated with the competition over the year: changes in services, fares, service quality, patronage, and passengers' perceptions of the companies involved. Competition continued in the area for some months after the monitoring stopped, but lasted for slightly less than two years altogether, one company was taken over by the established operator and the others withdrew.

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