Title: Twenty Turbulent Years
Author: Peter Rowlands & Stewart J Brown
Publisher: Fawndoon Books
Specification: 255mm x 220mm, 144pp, hardback
If deregulation and privatisation cured a hitherto publiclyowned British bus industry of its endemic inefficiency, whom did that benefit?
The judgment of Peter Rowlands and Stewart J Brown is that was more the operators than the passengers they were there to serve, and that the progressive withdrawal of subsidy — the biggest object of central government in pursuing such radical change — “left many people who once enjoyed regular bus provision without it”.
It is hard to disagree with their analysis, 20 years after the event, of how the bus scene across England, Scotland and Wales was changed more radically between 1980 and 2000 than at any time since railway ownership and road service licensing brought stability — many would also argue stagnation — at the start of the 1930s.