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Luton Borough Council

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]

Our Bus Service Improvement Plan (BSIP) for Luton

The government's national bus strategy, Bus Back Better, was initially developed prior to the COVID-19 pandemic, but publication was held back until March 2021. Its aim is to deliver ambitious improvements to public bus services across England.

Prior to the publication of the statutory notice above, on 1 June 2021, the Joint Board and Policy Group meeting was presented with the report on Luton's intention to formalise the Bus Service Improvement Plan and develop an Enhanced Partnership which was highly supported. Operators are being formally invited to participate in the making of the plan and enhanced partnership following the meeting and the publication of the Notice of Intent to enter the Enhanced Partnership.

From the initial discussions and drawing from the Council's Local Transport Plan approved April 2021, and contained in the Joint Board Report, the framework for the BSIP has emerged which will form the basis of further discussion. The framework stated below is the initial draft and shall evolve as we enter further discussions with local bus operators, community transport bodies and other stakeholders such as bus user groups, service providers and local business groups.

  • Cover the LTA’s full area, all local bus services within it, and the differing needs of any parts of that area
  • Drive improvement in accessibility and consider how the network should serve school, health, social care, employment and other services.
  • Set targets for journey times and reliability improvements – to be reported against publicly at least every six months.
  • Identify where bus priority measures are needed, including consideration of Bus Rapid Transit routes to transform key corridors and how traffic management can be improved to benefit buses.
  • Demonstrate how bus services are integrated with other types of transport in their area such as connectivity to train stations and cycling and walking schemes, complementing these forms of travel and not competing with them.
  • Focus on delivering the bus network that LTAs (in consultation with operators) want to see, including how to address the under provision and overprovision of bus services and buses integrating with other modes.
  • Be updated annually and reflected in the authority’s Local Transport Plan and in other relevant local plans such as Local Cycling and Walking Infrastructure Plans (LCWIPs).
  • Set out pressures on the road network, air quality issues and carbon reduction targets which improved bus services could address.
  • Set targets for passenger growth and customer satisfaction.
  • Set out plans and costs for fares, ticketing and modal integration. Ultimately the strategy aims to see multi-modal ticketing.
  • Set out how they will achieve the objectives of the national strategy, including growing bus use, and include a detailed plan for delivery.

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What happens next?

Between June and July 2021, we'll set up an operator and stakeholder board to:

  • govern the development and making of the plan and enhanced partnership
  • start detailed discussions with operators over their existing and future networks

We are now requesting your feedback

Bus Service Improvement Plan for Luton – Give us your views

In response to the National Bus Strategy, we will be drafting a bus service improvement plan (BSIP) for Luton, in collaboration with our bus operators, and other stakeholders.

In drafting the plan, it's important for us to know what you think would improve local bus services and what would encourage you to use local buses more. Our bus service improvement survey asks for views from people who already use buses and from those who currently don't.

We also wanted to hear from public, private and voluntary organisations who have an interest in local bus services and making them work better.

Please complete our bus service improvement plan survey

Over the summer, we're planning to talk to customers. We'll involve both bus users and non-bus users. We'll be asking what you'd like to see from your bus services as part of the plan.

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Useful links

Bus Back Better – National Bus Strategy 

Bus Service Improvement Plan (BSIP) Guidance

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© 2021 Luton Council, Town Hall, Luton LU1 2BQ