L'intervento pubblico nei servizi di trasporto passeggeri su lunga distanza: pro e contro il mercato The current bias towards the promotion of competitive markets is not based on sound theoretical roots, but on the awareness of «state failures» and on the revival of the neoclassical ideology. Therefore, when competitive markets are not able to reach an efficient allocation of resources and a satisfactory level of social equity and of quantitative and qualitative development, there is still room for public policies alternative to competitive markets. The paper shows that this is the case in the sector of long-distance passenger transport. Actually, to foster the development of this sector a threefold approach is needed. The first one to complete the recent effort to promote the liberalization of services and the competitive regulation of infrastructures. The second one to provide an adequate level of public goods infrastructures, education, innovation, research and to protect consumers. The third one to act consistently with the existence of network, environmental and health externalities. Competitive markets have a secondary role in the proposed approach: they are just one of the policy tools and they are structurally conditioned by public intervention in the economy.