Big Lemon seeks bus monopoly views

Posted On 17 Feb 2010 at 10:23 am
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The Big Lemon bus company has launched a survey to help it respond to a Government probe into bus monopolies.

Last month, the Office of Fair Trading asked the Competition Commission to carry out a full investigation into bus fares in areas where a single company dominates the market – including Brighton and Hove.

Most services in the city are run by the Brighton and Hove Bus Company, which charges 50% more than the London rate for a single fare – £1.80 compared to £1.20.

The Big Lemon, which runs a limited service for students from the city centre to university campuses,

The survey says: “The Big Lemon has drafted a response to the Commission, as it believes there are significant barriers to entry into the industry and a number of ways in which small businesses and new entrants are at a disadvantage.

“This inevitably leads to less competition as small operators cannot compete and are bought out or go bust. It is because of the loyalty of The Big Lemon’s passengers that The Big Lemon has survived start-up and is now flourishing, but for a time it looked like it was heading into the abyss where all the other start-ups went, and we believe with a healthier market more start-ups would survive and passengers would benefit.”

The company’s Tom Druitt, posting on the Brighton and Hove Issues Forum, said: “I have drafted a response to the Commission on behalf of The Big Lemon, but I would like to include some statistics about what people in Brighton & Hove think regarding how competition in the industry (or lack of it) affects them.

“If you use the buses in Brighton & Hove and have a couple of minutes to spare it would be good to have your opinion.”

Here’s the link to the survey once more. The Competition Commission’s consultation ends tomorrow. Submissions can be email to buses@cc.gsi.gov.uk.

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