You can't compare with Europe or London, as we have a fully deregulated bus system, wheras those places have integrated systems. Birmingham/West Midlands is interesting as fares are lower in a region with slightly higher incomes and much higher car ownership levels. Even more significant is the fact that the OFT/MMC have never heard of the West Midlands, consequently, Travel West Midlands (originally WMPTE) have not only a virtual monopoly of bus services, but also their Light Rail is owned and run by TWM as well. Sort of shoots down the myth of competition resulting in lower fares somewhat! Still the adult bus users of Gtr. Manchester have known this for 25 years anyway.