In its formal response to the Competition Commission (CC)’s revelations on the scale of market fixing by major operators in the North East, pteg criticised the CC for “brushing aside” its own findings to leave a “weak set of remedies largely unchanged.”
pteg says the CC’s report exposed evidence of operators in collusion. It quoted a major operator telling another: “The offer I’m making is that from whatever date you agree to come to the party we will do nothing that in any way causes you grief, and we will seek to implement changes to our mutual benefit.”
pteg said: “We are surprised and alarmed by the casual manner in which the CC seems to have brushed aside what is significant evidence of market failure and has ruled out a more detailed investigation.
“Given the severe implications of these findings and the real risk they may be more widespread across the reference area, we feel a more robust and detailed consideration of the problem and of remedial measures by the CC is warranted.”
pteg director Jonathan Bray said: “It has taken the CC a long time to lift up a corner of the carpet to find out what’s really going on in the bus industry. Now they have done so, they have found an astonishing degree of ruthless and blatant market fixing to agree and defend local monopolies in the interests of profitability, not passengers.
“However, it’s almost as if these devastating findings are an inconvenience to the CC who seem determined to stick to a weak set of remedies.”