Public planning with business delivery of excellent urban public transport

Paul A. Barter


trend for the public sector to take greater responsibility for public transport outcomes is the focus for this paper, in particular the rise of models with proactive public-sector planning but business provision of services, usually under service contracts. Case studies from several continents are used to explore this trend, including several that are widely hailed as success stories. It is argued that this model represents a reassertion of public sector control and that portraying service contracts in public transport as ‘privatisation’ misses the point that it marks a defeat for a deregulation agenda. This is clear especially from examples in Latin America and Asia where this model has been replacing approaches with very weak public sector oversight. The paper also highlights that this model has been emerging via a number of different pathways and from a wide range of initial circumstances, including some surprisingly low-income contexts.