16 October 2009: The Office of Fair Trading is planning to refer the bus market to the Competition Commission. We've told them this is a bad idea because it will make it harder for local authorities and bus companies to work together to improve things for passengers.
If local authorities and bus companies are scared of breaking competition law, they won't use the new powers they've been given in the Local Transport Act to improve buses. We agree with the OFT that the bus market isn't working properly, but the solution isn't bus wars (where buses chase each other down the street fighting for passengers). The solution is for local authorities to take responsibility for improving buses, either by working in partnership with bus companies, or by regulating the bus network.