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Conference paper
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Privatisation of public transport has been controversial among the general public, but less so among transport academics. A critical issue is the ability of urban public transport to contribute to improved environmental and equity outcomes, and the role of competition and regulation policy in enhancing that contribution. The dominant view among commentators with an economic bent supports the twin propositions that public transport’s likely contribution is relatively modest, and that increased competition and private sector involvement is the key to improved performance.

The purpose of this paper is to attempt an evaluation of the results to date of the Melbourne privatisation process, with a view to establishing whether it represents an improvement over continued government operation. Although the process is only four years into contracts with a life of 12-15 years, it is anticipated that it should be possible to draw broad conclusions about the direction of change and the likelihood of reaching the outcomes predicted by the former Victorian government at the time of privatisation.

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