Some of Britain’s largest bus companies could be forced to sell buses or depots after the Office of Fair Trading ruled that a lack of competition in the local bus market may be inflating fares and reducing services.

The proposal is one of a series of possible remedies outlined by the consumer watchdog after its five month study concluded that operators in the £3.6bn market could be overcharging customers.

Nearly two-thirds of bus services are controlled by five operators – Go-Ahead, National Express, Arriva, FirstGroup and Stagecoach – after a rapid wave of consolidation that followed the liberalisation of the bus market in 1986.

Financial Times