Deregulation of a Long Distance Express Coach Market

Deregulation of a Long Distance Express Coach Market


J Aarhaug, N Fearnley, P Christiansen, Institute of Transport Economics, NO


The past 10 - 30 years has seen the deregulation of the express coach markets in several countries. This paper provides insight to the Norwegian experience based upon a comprehensive set of data sources.


Several countries have deregulated their coach markets over the past 10-30 years and there is a growing literature on the effects of deregulation on industry structure, patronage, service quality and quantity, and competition. In cases where coach services are subject to local or national subsidies, EU Regulation 1370/2007 sets out requirements for the ways operators can be compensated and the requirements for tenders.

This paper offers new insight to the effects of deregulation in Norway, which formally happened gradually between 1998 and 2003. We study the development of the Norwegian long distance express coach market over a period that spans from the years prior to deregulation and up to 2010.

The comprehensive set of data sources, which we have gathered, include: supply, demand and financial information from operators; information about organisation, ownership, mergers buy-outs, acquisitions, entry and exit from the confederation of operators; and information about integration with local public transport services including the important question of subsidies and contract award procedures from local and central governments.

We document the degree of both competition and cooperation in the market, which has taken a particular form in Norway due to historical requirements on coach operations, and relate this to observed differences in ticket prices and service levels. We also document that the market has changed character as a consequence of intermodal competition, in particular air traffic.

Our paper documents the successful development of an often neglected public transport mode, which has the potential to make long distance passenger transport more efficient and more sustainable.


Association for European Transport