Are we doing it wrong or do we expect too much? Forces that push authorities to become public transport designers

Document Type

Journal Article

Publication Date


Subject Area

organisation - governance, organisation - contracting, organisation - competition, place - europe, organisation - performance


Public transport, Competitive tendering, Contracting, Governance, Service design


This paper presents a number of reasons that are responsible for the disappointment of authorities in their operators’ efforts to develop public transport (PT) to the advantage of their travellers. The lessons drawn in this paper are based upon the competitive tendering experience of the authors and upon the results of meetings organised with parties involved in competitive tendering and aimed at exchanging lessons. There appears to be three main causes: (1) there is freedom for the operator, but the contract is bad; (2) there is freedom for the operator, there is a good contract, but there is no market; and (3) there is freedom for the operator, but the operator is not able to use it. The paper concludes with a few perspectives for improvement.


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


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