A private-public comparison of bus service operators
Due to the steady increase in the use of private autos in Japan, the bus business is facing hard times. In particular, bus services owned by public organizations have been struggling with increases in operating deficits and subsidies, so that recently in many cities there has been a call for restructuring. Publicly and privately owned bus operators co-exist in the Japanese market. Although their financial situation is not completely healthy, privately owned bus operators have performed better than their publicly owned counterparts. The main purpose of this study is to find the key factors causing the differences in efficiency between private and public bus operators, especially in these areas: efficiency in service production, wage, utilization of vehicles, and cost. In this study, we will make an analysis using observations of both private and public bus operators in the Kansai region in Japan for the five years from 1996 to 2000. After we examine the performance differences between the two sectors, we will estimate with econometric methods certain functions such as the production function of bus services and the wage function. Based on these functions, we will evaluate the differences in efficiency between private and public bus operators.
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