The Swedish Agency for Public Management

Cost base of the public transport model – a review (2014:11)

Statskontoret has been commissioned by the Government to conduct a review of the cost base used for the calculations in the sub-model for public transport. This sub-model is included in the cost equalisation in the system of equalisation in municipal and county councils finances. If the cost base needs to be revised, the assignment will also involve Statskontoret submitting a proposal for such a revision, as well as subsequently performing a new calculation of the outcome for individual municipalities and county councils in the sub-model.

There have been major changes within the area of public transport after the Equalisation Committee of 2008 (Utjämningskommittén.08) having completed its work in April 2011. This included the introduction of a new Public Transport Act in 2012, and regional public transport authorities (RKTM) have been established in all the country's counties. The county councils have also increasingly taken over the entire political and financial responsibility for the regional and local public transport. Public transport has also increased, both in terms of the number of journeys and costs.

In this report, Statskontoret presents the errors we have found in the cost base used by the Equalisation Committee of 2008. We also present the cost implications of these errors for the individual county councils and municipalities for the equalisation year 2014, i.e., the first year in which the Committee's proposals have been used. The report also provides the information necessary for the Government to update the current calculation model.

The presentation of the cost implications for 2014 of updating the cost base of the public transport model shows that the largest increase in the standard cost for the county councils would amount to SEK 15 (Västmanland County Council) and the largest decrease would amount to SEK 9 (Jämtland County Council). The changes are also on the same level for the municipalities, with only a few exceptions.

Statskontoret's overall assessment is that the corrections made to the Committee's cost base would lead to relatively minor changes. In comparison it can be mentioned that the largest supplement a municipality receives based on the public transport model of 2014 is SEK 450 per inhabitant, and the largest deduction is SEK 802 per inhabitant. The corresponding figure for the county councils in the same year is a supplement of SEK 977 per inhabitant, or a deduction of SEK 733 per inhabitant.

During the investigation, Statskontoret has also found that the regression model that forms the basis of the current public transport model is no longer statistically significant when applied to the cost data for 2012. This is serious considering that this regression model directly determines the individual county councils' and municipalities' standard cost.

Taking into account both the relatively small changes that result from an updated cost base, the shortcomings in the current regression model, and the major changes that have taken place within the area of public transport, Statskontoret's assessment is that the Government should not update the current public transport model.

Statskontoret finds that the Government should instead commission a specific investigation or commission Statskontoret to conduct a more unconditional review of the public transport model.

Such a review would include developing a regression model or another distribution model that is statistically and logically sustainable, both for the present and for the foreseeable future.

Given the major changes that have taken place in public transport in recent years, it would also - according to Statskontoret - be natural within the framework of such a review to reconsider, for example, whether the public transport model should in future be a common model for the county councils and municipalities.