I could not agree more with my hon. Friend. If this is to mean anything, making this happen in reality must be a smooth and quick process rather than a long and protracted one.
The rationale behind deregulation was that turning services over to the market would give the customer the final say; companies would compete and, as a consequence, would better cater their services to passengers. In theory, it is a competitive market, but in reality most bus services are provided by five large companies that avoid competing against each other. Since deregulation, bus use in metropolitan areas has decreased by a half and in non-metropolitan areas by a fifth. Meanwhile, in London, where buses were not deregulated, bus journeys have increased by 227%, mileage has increased by 74% and London journeys now outnumber bus journeys in the rest of England, while fare increases have been lower than in the city regions.