In Europe, most of the urban public transport services are not operated on a commercial basis. The implication of local public authorities in the sector is important: they organize their local market, they finance services and, sometimes, they also act as producers. This paper analyzes the public transport system in four European cities: Lyon, Stockholm, Helsinki and Brussels and concentrates, in particular, on the introduction of regulated competition. Four different market mechanisms can be used in the public transport sector: (1) competitive tendering, (2) open access with on-track competition, (3) yardstick competition where the operator? reward is based on a comparative evaluation of its performance and (4) the possibility of challenging the incumbent public operator. The pros and cons of different competitive mechanisms are presented and the article discusses the conditions under which a truly competitive market could be settled.public transport, regulation, competition
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