How many want to drive the bus?: Analyzing the number of bids for public transport bus contracts

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This paper examines how different factors relating to contract characteristics, and the operational and tender environment affect the number of unique bidders placing bids in tenders for bus contracts. A generalized Poisson model is used with a comprehensive data set containing most of the recently tendered bus contracts in Sweden, spanning the period 2007-2015. The main finding from the analysis is that most contract characteristics change participation in tenders by around 0.1-0.5 bidders. Operator-restricting measures, such as special requirements on buses, have a similar limited effect. Further, the number of tenders that are open at the same time as a specific tender was shown to reduce participation by almost 2 bidders. Finally, there is evidence that the local competitive environment is of importance, and the public transport authorities therefore need to be concerned with entry barriers in their tenders.

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