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Long distance coach transport in Italy: state of the art and perspectives

Paolo Beria, Raffaele Grimaldi and Antonio Laurino

MPRA Paper from University Library of Munich, Germany

Abstract: Long distance coach services in Italy represent an almost unknown mode of transport to the general public, often ignored even by policy markers. The industry has been liberalised since 2007, and service regulation is gradually changing from exclusive concessions to non-exclusive authorisations. This paper aims at shedding a light on this sector, underlining its importance, evidencing its specific strengths and weaknesses starting from the results of the first numerical research specifically focused on long distance coach transport in Italy, carried out by the authors (Beria et al., 2012). We provide policy indications for this evolving and promising industry, looking at what happened in other countries and at what can be learnt from the European air industry after the liberalisation of the 90’s. We developed a geographical database of the long distance coaches supply and a database of the operating firms. Moreover, we interviewed managers and directors of some operating firms. According to our estimations, that are not present in the Italian transport statistics, the industry supplied more than 90m bus*kilometres in 2010. Our database shows the geographical areas where coach services are more present and some considerations about bus companies. To compare the industry with the long distance rail sector, which is partially subsidised in Italy, we referred to and analysed the official Ferrovie dello Stato (the national railway company) economic figures, to make comparisons on supply and estimated passengers. Today coach and rail are mainly complementary, often filling the qualitative and quantitative gaps of the rail. However, this is expected to evolve as a consequence of liberalization. Policy scenarios appear to be three: the consolidation of the existing market, inside the new liberalised context; an expansion of the market towards new users; a different attitude of the national planner towards a broader use of coach for the subsidised long distance “universal service” , now supplied only by rail.

Keywords: long; distance; bus; coach; transport; rail; subsides; public service contract; Italy; perspectives (search for similar items in EconPapers)
JEL-codes: R4 R40 (search for similar items in EconPapers)
Date: 2013-02
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