Are some customers paying too much?

The local bus sector has been referred to the Competition Commission by the Office of Fair Trading amid complaints of "predatory tactics" by companies.

The OFT said evidence suggested limits on competition may be leading to higher prices for users in England, Wales and Scotland and follows a five-month investigation into the industry. An OFT spokesman said the issues it had identified "clearly justify a full investigation".

Findings include:

• The majority of local routes are operated by a small number of large bus companies

• There were higher fares in areas where operators with a strong market position are not challenged by a large, well-resourced rival

• Many complaints alleged "predatory" behaviour by incumbent firms designed to eliminate competition from new entrants

• There were few bids for supported service contracts in many areas, with just one bidder for a quarter of tenders.

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