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Thoughts about the relationships between transport and the urban area it serves

Archive for May 6th, 2019

“Why did everyone else get bus deregulation and London did not?”

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The quote comes from an article in the Observer yesterday.

I wrote a letter to the Editor today:  it does appear. I thought readers here might also like to know the answer.

Because Professor Christopher Foster of the London School of Economics wrote a paper describing the impact of competition between bus companies in London in the 1920s and 30s which lead to the creation of the London Passenger Transport Board. Traffic congestion has always been bad, especially in Central London, but the behaviour of bus drivers trying to beat each other to the bus stops to scoop up as many fares as possible had become downright dangerous. Mrs Thatcher clearly took a narrow view, and decided that this was a risk she was not prepared to take – in London. Chaos did indeed hit most of Britain’s larger cities after bus deregulation.

By the way, Her Majesty’s Inspector of Railways was more effective with his advice on the privatisation of the railways. He told her that people would be killed. He was also right, but that did not happen on Thatcher’s watch but later under John Major who was notably less intelligent.

I went looking for a suitable picture and found one of the “Chocolate Express” which was accompanied by some useful text. So instead of using a copyright image I am sending you to that page.

Written by Stephen Rees

May 6, 2019 at 11:17 am

Posted in Transportation