National Bus Strategy - Bus Back Better
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Luton Council: Notice of intent to develop an Enhanced Partnership for Bus Services
2 June 2021
The National Bus Strategy for England, published on 15 March 2021, formalises the expectation that Local Transport Authorities and bus operators will work in partnership to deliver better bus services in their areas.
At its Joint Board and Policy Group meeting on 1 June 2021, Luton Council supported the Council's report to proceed with 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 and Section 9 of the Transport Act 2017.
It is envisaged that the Enhanced Partnership will apply to the whole of the Luton Council's area. All operators of registered local bus services which operate within the Luton Council area will be invited to participate in the development and delivery of the Enhanced Bus Partnership.
For further information please contact the Council's Public Transport Team at [email protected]
In April 2022, the Department for Transport (DfT) made an indicative funding award of £19.1 million to Luton Council in respect of its Bus Service Improvement Plan (BSIP). Once confirmed, it will enable the council and local bus operators to implement a wide range of improvements to the Luton’s bus network and associated infrastructure. Some of the proposed measures include:
- upgrades to bus infrastructure, including stops, shelters, and real-time information screens
- new bus priorities to achieve reliability, punctuality, passenger experience and satisfaction
- improved ticketing and cheaper fares for child (aged 5-16), young persons (aged 17-21), adult and multi operator fares capping
- improved bus information
- improvements to local bus service levels
- introduction of Butterfield Park & Ride site and service
- increased frequency on the busway to attain targeted passenger growth
- joint partnership working with neighbouring authorities - Central Bedfordshire and Bedford Borough Council, alongside bus operators and stakeholders on various measures to improve the bus network in the PAN Bedfordshire region.
To utilise the BSIP funding, the council must enter into a statutory Enhanced Partnership (EP) with local bus operators. The EP sets out the responsibilities of the council and local bus operators and makes a binding commitment to honour these responsibilities.
The EP plan sets out the current state of the network, along with high level BSIP objectives and measures. The EP Scheme sets out detailed commitments and governance arrangements.
In the recent meetings, after the submission of our Draft EP and the Schedule 4 - Bus Service Improvement Plan funding summary to the Department for Transport (DfT) towards the end of June 2022, Luton Council agreed with its EP Board members to commence its Statutory Consultation to finalise and make the EP. The Statutory Consultation on our Draft EP commenced mid-November 22 with the Statutory Consultees, which included but not limited to:
- all operators of local bus services that would be affected by any of the proposals;
- organisations that represent local passengers;
- other local authorities that would be affected by the proposals;
- the Traffic Commissioners;
- the chief officer of police for each area to which the plan relates;
- transport focus;
- the Competition and Markets Authority (CMA); and
- such other persons as the authority thinks fit
On receipt of the comments and considerations to them, Luton Council and the EP board member deemed the EP did not require any further amendments at this stage. The board concluded to making the EP in December post the sign off from the council on 28 November 2022.
The updated final Luton Enhanced Partnership Plan and Schemes along with any relevant information and documents can be found below.
Luton Borough Council, in collaboration with bus operators, has developed an Enhanced Partnership Plan and Scheme.
In order to formally ‘make’ the plan and scheme, the council followed the statutory guidance and processes, consulting operators of qualifying local bus services and undertaking stakeholder consultation. No objection was received during the operator objection period which commenced 21 December 2022.
Post the BSIP funding award, the council updated its Enhanced Partnership Plan and Scheme in October 2022 to reflect the bus service improvement plan funding award. EP board members and operators were further consulted for the approval of the revised EP incorporating the schemes in line with the BSIP funding award.
This was approved by the board members on 10 November whereby notification of intention under Section 138G of Transport Act 2000, to proceed with the making of our Enhanced Partnership Plan and Scheme was announced.
This allowed for the statutory consultation to commence and by the end of November, with no amendments required as result of the statutory consultation, Luton Council signed off its approval for making the EP.
The meeting held by the EP Board members on 7 December announced the making of the EP.
If you have any comments, please email us at [email protected]
The government published its Bus Back Better, National Bus Strategy for England in March 2021. Within this document there was a requirement for local authorities within England to prepare and publish Bus Service Improvement Plans (BSIPs) by 31 October 2021.
The government are expecting BSIPs to cover bus priority infrastructure and other infrastructure, bus fares, bus service support, marketing and zero emission buses. A funding package of £3 billion for the bus sector was announced linked to the new National Bus Strategy.
However, it is not yet clear how much new funding, if any, Luton Council may receive following submission of our BSIP to the Department for Transport.
Thank you to everyone who took their time to share their views in our Bus Service Improvement Plan for Luton Survey which commenced between 5 August and 12 September 2021.
On 11 October 2021, Luton Council’s Executive Board Meeting considered a report outlining engagement feedback and the work carried out on the Bus Improvement Plan to date.
The executive authorised the preparation of the Luton - Bus Service Improvement Plan (based on the details of the report) for submission to the Department of Transport (DfT) by the 31 October 2021 as the basis of a bid for allocation of funding.
As part of this work there will be further opportunities for feedback. Updates will be available on this website.
Details of our BSIP report can be viewed in our submission below:
Luton Council will convene the enhanced partnership stakeholders and board meetings each quarter to review and discuss the progress in accordingly
Please return back to our National Bus Strategy - Bus Back Better page for up to date information.