Regulation and efficiency in Italian local public transport: the regional differences
This paper studies the effects on local public transport of the reform begun in the late nineties, using data from a recent Bank of Italy survey. There are still substantial differences across Italy’s regions, and the level of efficiency is far from the original aims of the reform. Although almost all Italian regional councils formally aligned the local legislation to the new national rules, actual compliance with the deeper logic of the reform has been limited so far. Competitive tendering for the selection of local service providers have seldom been used, while auctions have usually been won by local public incumbents. Albeit limited, efficiency gains are larger wherever the reform has been implemented more thoroughly and the variables influencing public transport demand more carefully taken into account. The share of the population that uses public transport has not increased even in major cities, and the low share of users (by international standards) has gone hand in hand with a negative overall evaluation of service quality. Fares are still much lower than unit costs.
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