Urban passenger transport has experienced major change in many developing countries in Africa, Asia, and the Middle East, as well as in countries of political and/or economic transition in the Commonwealth of Independent States (CIS) and China. Such changes have included planned market opening to private operators and new entrants; unplanned market opening by the entry of unlicensed operators; privatization and other changes to the ownership base of large public-sector transport companies; emergence of large-scale minibus and paratransit; and national and urban policies and programs to upgrade the transport supply and quality.
This paper presents a framework to understand regulatory and institutional changes in urban bus services in Africa, Asia, the Middle East, the CIS, and China. The framework identifies three types of changes: (i) changes in the role of the regulator and market structure; (ii) changes in the structure of the operator and of private sector participation; and (iii) changes in the transport supply. The paper then identifies critical factors leading to change in the urban transport sector, factors that can be identified with successful outcomes, and issues associated with the development of the minibus, paratransit, and the informal sector that have played major roles in the urban transport sector of developing countries and countries in transition.