By 1969 Devon General had become a division of the National Bus Company. This era was characterised by: strict "quality" regulation, a high degree of centralisation, declining patronage and high levels of subsidy. A more localised management structure was introduced in 1983, and in 1984 the company pioneered the use of high-frequency 16-seat urban minibuses. Minibuses now operate all urban services and this new level of customer orientation has revolutionised every aspect of the company's operations, marketing and engineering. The net result has been a massive growth in both passenger numbers (over 2.5 times the pre-minibus level) and profits. In 1986 Devon General became the first operator to be privatised when the company was sold to its senior management team. More innovations have followed, firstly, new companies have been established to provide minibus services in Oxford City and London Docklands. Secondly, the Oxfordshire rural bus company, South Midland, has been purchased. Thirdly, the loss-making Devon and Oxfordshire rural services have been replaced with a new network of high-frequency 25-seat minicoaches. These services too are now in profit and carrying a growing number of passengers. This paper forms part of a special issue of the journal Transportation Planning and Technology, entitled "Competition ownership of bus and coach services", edited by David A Hensher. The special issue carries a selection of 24 papers and workshop reports presented at the international conference held in Thredbo, New South Wales, Australia, from 1st-4th May 1989. For the covering abstract of the conference see IRRD 837493. (Author/TRRL)


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  • Accession Number: 00623890
  • Record Type: Publication
  • Source Agency: Transport and Road Research Laboratory (TRRL)
  • Files: ITRD, TRIS, ATRI
  • Created Date: Jul 31 1992 12:00AM