National bus strategy

The government’s national bus strategy for England, Bus Back Better, was published on 15 March 2021. It sets out how local transport authorities and bus operators will work in partnership to deliver better bus services in their areas.

The strategy requires all transport authorities to work with bus companies and to develop a bus service improvement plan by 31 October 2021.

This will lead to the establishment of an enhanced bus partnership by 1 April 2022. An enhanced partnership is a joint effort between the council and bus operators to improve bus services for passengers.

Notice of intent to prepare an enhanced partnership plan and schemes

At its meeting on 29 June 2021, Buckinghamshire council approved the development of an Enhanced Partnership. The commencement of this is confirmed through this notice of the intention to prepare an Enhanced Partnership Plan and accompanying Enhanced Partnership Schemes, as required, and set out in section 138F of the Transport Act 2000.

The Enhanced Partnership Scheme(s) will cover Buckinghamshire council’s geographic area and will come into force from April 2022.

For further information please contact the Passenger Transport Team on [email protected].

Before the publication of this statutory notice, we had informal discussions with all major bus operators in Buckinghamshire. These talks demonstrated high levels of support for a formal bus service improvement plan and enhanced partnership with us.

All bus operators have been formally invited to help build the bus service improvement plan and enhanced partnership.

Bus service improvement plan

Our Bus Service Improvement Plan represents Buckinghamshire Council’s plan to establish buses as a key travel mode in Buckinghamshire, providing connectivity and accessibility for all with safe, reliable and regular bus services.

View the Bus Service Improvement Plan (BSIP) PDF,2.17MB.

View our BSIP Summary PDF,3.27MB.

Why we need it

This is our response to the national bus strategy ‘Bus Back Better’, published in March 2021 that sets out Government priorities to improve bus services in England and requires all local authorities to create a BSIP. Buckinghamshire council has a positive relationship our local bus companies and has also made a commitment to enter into an Enhanced Partnership with all local bus operators. This partnership will be the means to delivering the service improvements outlined in the BSIP.

How it was developed

The plan has been developed in partnership with bus operators and council members and importantly has been informed  from engagement work this summer where we received feedback from more than 2,000 residents and local organisations telling us what they’d like to see improved with Buckinghamshire’s bus services.

What happens next

The Government announced allocations of BSIP funding in April 2022 and have only awarded monies to 31 authorities. 40 other authorities will receive no funding at this stage and, unfortunately, Buckinghamshire is one of those. This is extremely disappointing as we submitted an ambitious plan containing nearly 50 schemes to improve bus services for our residents and covering all of the areas the Department for Transport asked us to focus on, including plans for greener buses, more frequent services, lower fares, improved technology and travel information.

The Department for Transport have told us that the BSIP scheme was significantly oversubscribed nationally and that further funding may be available in future.

We will now continue work to set up an Enhanced Partnership with bus companies and remain fully committed to improving public transport in Buckinghamshire, and working to secure Government funding in the future.