Over recent years, a major topic of discussion within the bus industry in both the developed and developing worlds has been the desirability or otherwise of regulating the supply and provision of stage bus services. Proponents of deregulation or free competition seek the complete relaxation of controls, arguing that this induces an increase in, and diversity of, the provision of market orientated services best suited to meet demand characteristics. Opponents of deregulation seek varying levels of control and government involvement, believing market forces may lead to increasing imperfection and imbalances in the provision of services. In addition, opponents of deregulation believe that this leads to a wasteful use of scarce resources with environmental disbenefits. This report adds to the debate by examining the effects of the Government of Zimbabwe's decision in August 1993 to partially deregulate the sector by allowing the introduction of privately operated commuter omnibuses to compete with the existing stage bus operator. Prior to 1993 the stage bus operator, the Zimbabwe United Passenger Company (ZUPCO) enjoyed a monopoly in Harare, the capital of Zimbabwe. Clearly it is too soon to make a definitive assessment, that is only possible after a much longer time period has evolved. However, an initial assessment has been made by comparing factors and case study material 'pre' and 'post' August 1993. (A)

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