Competition drives innovation and keeps fares down

I must take issue with Bob Saxby (You Write, December) and his claim that competition between bus operations has no benefit to the public.

To take one example, why are bus fares far cheaper on one group of services in Manchester than any others? Because it is the only main thoroughfare where there is major competition. I refer to the 42 route and many similar services serving Oxford Road and the Wilmslow Road past the universities. With always a bus in sight, there is no need of timetables and when 100 students all leave lectures together buses swallow them up quickly.

Yes, some run empty because students come out at different times on different days, but there is no subsidy and because the services are so good, few students use cars unlike those at some universities. If the new mayor uses his powers to make all services franchised, as in London, the services will be reduced and cars will appear in much larger numbers.

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