Public vs private management of public utilities – The case of urban public transport in Europe


Miguel Amaral

Document Type

Journal Article

Publication Date


Subject Area

organisation - management, place - europe, place - urban


This paper analyses the determinants of the performance differential between the private and public management of urban public transport in Europe. Our analysis supports the view that private management is associated with a lower operating cost. We show, however, that the size of the costs' differential can depend on the interaction of the local authorities' capacity for expertise and the private operators' autonomy margin. In particular, we show that, in certain situations, there might be little difference in operating costs. Thus, in terms of total costs (production and transaction costs), no systematic advantages should be expected from private management.


Permission to publish abstract given by Elsevier, copyright remains with them


Research in Transportation Economics Home Page: