Deregulation and rural bus services: a study in rural Wales


P Bell
P Cloke

Document Type

Journal Article

Publication Date


Subject Area

place - rural, place - europe, mode - bus, organisation - privatisation


public sector, privatisation, impacts, effects, service provision


The last decade has witnessed a significant realignment of the relationships between the public sector and the private, with privatisation and deregulation. There has been much speculation over the potential impact of privatisation on service provision in rural areas, which are thought to be potentially poor arenas of competition. In this paper, evidence is presented of the impact of the deregulation of bus services in rural Wales following the 1985 Transport Act. Although there has been relatively little change in the short term there are significant indications of worsening impacts in the medium and long term, particularly if financial contributions from the local state have to be reduced. The general lack of competition, initiative, and consumer benefits arising in remoter rural areas from deregulation of transport offers some pointers to the likely effects of privatisation in other sectors.


Permission to publish the abstract has been given by Environment and Planning, copyright remains with them.