Transport operators or collectives

Urban passenger transport systems are characterized by either one large transport undertaking (sometimes a small number of these), or a multitude of small operators (mostly then working collectively through some form of associations). Systems where there are both types of operator are almost always unstable, with one or the other business model coming to dominate.

Large transport undertakings typically expect to retain control over their own fares collection, but can work under gross-cost contract where that responsibility is accepted by the contracting authority. A fragmented informal operator sector will always take direct control over its fares collection, and is then generally not amenable to gross-cost contracting. However reform of the urban transport system may introduce a framework for individual operators to coalesce into collective entities, and be enabled to accept accountability on that basis.