The study, commissioned by the AutobusWeb magazine and presented during the Mobility Innovation Tour in Milan, aims to provide an up-to-date picture of the health of the long-distance bus sector in Italy and propose a focus on the subject of safety.
Here are the main conclusions and ideas that emerged from the study, relating to the state of the post-liberalization market:
a. The market, in terms of supply and revenues, has grown a lot. Very few legacy companies have reduced the offer, despite the expansion of Flixbus.
b. Even though the vitality of the market and differently from what happened in other contexts (France, Germany), we do not see a generalized price war and the balance sheets of the main companies “hold”.
c. Historical brands have reacted by maintaining quality and setting (at least the largest ones) more aggressive pricing. For now, there have been few aggregations, but some new brands have appeared, the result of agreements. Flixbus has absorbed many companies, but many others remain independent.
In terms of security:
a. The accidents have not increased, despite the doubling of the market. The injured decreased in 2016-17. Fatalities are linked to a few specific events.
b. Among the exogenous causes of accidents, fog and urban context are the most dangerous.
c. Although among the endogenous causes of accidents can be found lack of safety distance, distracted or indecisive driving and speed, there is no doubt that bus companies are more attentive to the rules than road freight transport and private cars.
d. The increase in the use of seat belts and the quality of the stopping spaces are two most relevant themes, together with the technological equipment of the vehicles, where to put improvements in place.
At this link (italian text) you can download the complete study:
Beria P., Tolentino S. (2019) Intercity transport by bus. Analysis of the long-distance bus market from liberalization to today and focus on safety with respect to road accidents. Prepared for: AutobusWeb. Milan.