Partnerships between operators and public transport authorities. Working practices in relational contracting and collaborative partnerships

Document Type

Journal Article

Publication Date


Subject Area

place - europe, organisation - regulation, organisation - governance, organisation - contracting, operations - coordination, planning - service improvement


Collaboration, Public transport, Relational contracting, Governance, Organisation


Recent research on public transport has seen increasing focus on issues like coordination, collaboration and steering in complex governance settings. One of the themes in this field of research is related to partnership approaches, as one way of stimulating functioning collaboration between formally independent private and public organisations. The aim of this paper is to explore the role and function of partnerships as a way of supporting well-functioning public transport networks and services in fragmented institutional settings. The empirical focus is on partnerships between operators and public (transport) authorities in two different legal settings: England and Sweden. The analysis is based on interviews with operators and public transport authorities in two metropolitan regions in each country where innovative partnership working has been developed to deal with various types of barriers to delivering better public transport. The results show the key qualities of these partnerships that are required for them to function. Although the regulatory contexts are very different, the partnership qualities are very similar in both cases.


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


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