European Public Services Briefing 2: The Impact of European Union Competition Policy on Public Transport Policy and Provision in the UK, Andy Morton

In the last thirty years public transport services throughout Europe have been subjected to various sorts of privatisation. Reforms introducing competition and market rules into public transport have challenged the public service ethos that these services operate under. The role of successive UK governments in these reforms is well understood and documented. However the role of EU law, policy and institutions in this area is not. The EU, and in particular the European Commission, have had a considerable impact on public policy choices concerning public transport in EU member states since the early 1990s. Those in the UK who seek to redirect public transport policy away from privatisation and toward truly ‘public’ alternatives are to be advanced need to be aware that EU policy will also need to be challenged. At the very least it is accepted that a full understanding of the EU’s role is necessary and dealing with these questions. (Revised March 2015)