Skip to main content
Luton Borough Council

Luton Dunstable Busway

On this page ...

Running between Houghton Regis, Dunstable and Luton, the busway is part of our commitment to improve public transport, making getting to work, going to the shops and travelling around town easier and more affordable for residents.

What is the busway?

The majority of the busway is separated from other traffic, and runs on a concrete guideway.

Open all

The busway is a fast, frequent and reliable high-quality service linking Houghton Regis, Dunstable and Luton. The busway network is a guideway between Blackburn Road, on the edge of Houghton Regis, through Dunstable and into Luton town centre.

The service is provided by buses capable of running both on their own track and on the public roads. It serves a large number of destinations in the area:

  • connecting the main housing areas within the main industrial areas
  • the three town centres
  • the main line rail stations in Luton
  • Luton airport

The busway runs along the line of the disused railway that runs parallel to the A505 (Dunstable Road) and A5065 (Hatters Way). This route bypasses the traffic congestion in the town centres and along the A505.

The guideway comprises a twin track about 6 metres wide, so that busway vehicles can travel in each direction. Each track consists of a 180mm high kerb on each side which the guidewheels run along, and a concrete base to support the rear wheels. The centre section of the base has been planted with grass.

A minimum distance of 1m has been allowed at either side to allow passengers to get off the bus in an emergency. A major benefit of the dedicated guideway is that it takes traffic away from the roads and, thanks to it the vehicles being guided, they can achieve light rail speeds of up to 50mph.

The guideway itself has landscaping, noise barriers and other engineering measures will have minimised the impact on neighbouring properties.

An emergency access track was constructed parallel to the guideway for emergency and maintenance vehicles, if required. It also serves as a track for pedestrians and cyclists.

Services between the three town centres were operational from the opening in September 2013. Since this time longer distance express bus routes to Milton Keynes and Leighton Buzzard have also been using the guideway, allowing passengers faster and more reliable access to West Coast Main Line rail services to the Midlands and the North.

The new Z service, introduced in April 2015, directly serves the Luton & Dunstable hospital.

The busway was also designed to be able to run on the road, just like a conventional bus. This allows the network to reach a much greater number of potential users, without the expense and disruption of building a guideway into outlying areas, where there is little congestion.

As well as enjoying a fast, frequent and reliable service, travellers are kept informed by state-of-the art passenger information systems. These will display real time information for passengers waiting at all busway stops, whether on the guideway or on the road.​

Back to top


Where does the busway go?

The busway travels between Luton, Dunstable and Houghton Regis in both directions, with the one service going to Leighton Buzzard and Milton Keynes.

Map of route below, click on download at the bottom to enlarge.

Luton Dunstable Busway route map

The main part of the busway network is the specially constructed guideway from Houghton Regis to Dunstable and Luton town centres. The busway also travels on roads to London Luton Airport, via Luton Airport Parkway Station.

Future extensions

There are currently no further extensions to the busway planned, but since it opened in September 2013, two additional services have been introduced.

Watch our video

Take a high speed look at the journey along the Luton Dunstable Busway.​​​​​​​

​​

Download the Luton Dunstable Busway map

Back to top


Busway benefits

The busway has provided a major boost to the local economy. It has also reduced congestion, ensured journeys are quicker and more reliable, and improved the health of locals, whilst enabling them to do their bit for the environment.

Below are just some of the many benefits the busway has brought to the area.

The busway will be a major economic driver for the region. It will improve transport connections to existing and proposed key employment sites in the south and east of the town, such as Luton Airport and the proposed Wigmore employment area on the east side of the airport.

The busway services will pass through or close to many areas of deprivation where car ownership is low, in particular:

  • Dallow ward
  • Biscot ward
  • parts of Lewsey
  • Tithe Farm in Houghton Regis
  • Northfield in Dunstable.

These services will open up opportunities for improved access to jobs and further education/training and therefore is expected to contribute to higher standards of living and quality of life in some of the most deprived areas.

Businesses are already seeing the benefits of the scheme, with development flourishing along the busway.

In addition, as part of an integrated public transport system, travel for work or leisure to areas off the main route will be easier too, assisting regeneration.

Open all

Currently about 43,000 vehicles travel along the A505 and other routes between Houghton Regis, Dunstable and Luton each day. The busway will divert some buses away from the A505, helping to ease congestion. Busway services will cut the average peak hour journey time between Dunstable and Luton in half.

Currently, the average speed of a conventional bus over the six mile journey from Dunstable town centre to Luton train station is less than 13 miles an hour; the journey can take more than one hour. The busway will do the same journey on its dedicated guideway in about 15 minutes, including three scheduled stops.

The busway will bypass the congestion at peak times by travelling along its own guideway and by using "bus only" routes in the town centres.

The busway will also have priority over other traffic on the "on road" sections of the network by using bus lanes and transponders fitted to the vehicles to switch traffic lights to green as they are approached.

Typical journey times:

  • from Luton Station to Dunstable Town Centre - 11 minutes
  • from Dunstable to London Luton Airport - 19 minutes
  • from Luton Town Centre to London Luton Airport - 9 minutes
  • from Houghton Regis to Luton Station - 25 minutes

Leaving the car at home and catching a busway service would be a much healthier choice because road traffic is a key generator of pollution, accounting for 15% of the UK's carbon dioxide emissions, as well as large amounts of unhealthy particles (mainly in the form of soot).

This exposes us all to immense amounts of unwanted pollution which affects our health, particularly that of people prone to asthma, bronchitis and emphysema. Those most at risk are people living or walking beside congested roads and especially those in cars.

For car drivers and passengers, the pollution is greatest since ventilation systems draw polluted air into the car. Catching a bus will cut the overall level of pollution and even a short walk to the stop will be useful exercise you might not otherwise get.

It is intended that the busway services will also participate in First Capital Connect’s plusbus scheme which allows people with tickets to London and other destinations to travel on bus services to the rail station​

Back to top


Business case for the busway

The business case that has been submitted to the Department for Transport.

These are the submissions to the Department for Transport to secure conditional approval (2008) and full approval funding (2009) for the Luton Dunstable busway scheme.​

Downloads

Luton Dunstable Busway Business Case

Luton Dunstable Busway Business Case Appendices

Luton Dunstable Busway Business Case - full approval

Back to top


Compulsory purchase orders

The process by which we are acquiring the land has been through the General Vesting Declaration (GVD) process, this is just one type of compulsory purchase order. This process is authorised through the Transport and Works Act Order Luton Dunstable Translink Order 2006) which was secured by the Council in 2006.

GVD 1 - acquisition of the BRB land within the limits of the land required for the busway (disused railway line) excluding third party interests such as Statutory Undertakers, tenants etc.

GVD 2 - acquisition of the BRB land within the limits of the land required for the busway including third party interests such as Statutory Undertakers, tenants etc.

GVD 3, GVD 4, GVD 5, GVD 6, GVD 7 and GVD 8 - acquisition of other land required for the busway.

Open all

Please note that the documents published are for information only the land included within these plans are now in our ownership.

Downloads

General Vesting Declaration 1 maps

Notice of making of GVD

Please note that the documents published are for information only the land included within these plans are now in our ownership.

Downloads

GVD 2 maps

Notice of Intention to make GVD

Please note that the documents published are for information only the land included within these plans are now in our ownership.

Downloads

GVD 3 Sinfield and Willife Trust land

Please note that the documents published are for information only the land included within these plans are now in our ownership.

Downloads

GVD 4 Declaration

The notice period for registering your interest has now expired.

Downloads

GVD 5 Declaration

Notice of Intention to make GVD

Please note that the documents published are for those that have an interest in the land.

If you have an interest in any of the land included in the plans below please download and complete the 'form for giving information' in the attached Notice.

Downloads

GVD 6 Declaration

Notice of Intention to make GVD

Please note that the documents published are for those that have an interest in the land.

If you have an interest in any of the land included in the plans below please download and complete the 'form for giving information' in the attached Notice.

Downloads

GVD 7 Declaration

Notice of Intention to make GVD

Back to top


Why we need the busway

Over a number of years, the three towns of Houghton Regis, Dunstable and Luton have grown to the extent that they have become connected.

This is particularly the case along the line of the A505 (traditionally the main east-west route through the towns), carrying both local traffic and through traffic from Letchworth, Hitchin and Stevenage to the M1 and A5.

For some time the congestion along the route has made it impossible to provide a fast and reliable public transport service.

Since the late 1980s, teams of independent transport experts have been commissioned to develop proposals for a local transport solution. Of all the possibilities, including trains, light rail, and conventional buses, the busway was considered the most viable option for reducing traffic and congestion.

Open all

With a population of around 230,000 people in Houghton Regis, Dunstable and Luton, plus major industrial and commercial premises, a lot of traffic is generated. During rush hour, the six mile journey between Luton Station and Dunstable by car currently takes up to 40 minutes - an average speed of just nine miles an hour. Buses can be even slower.

Many journeys, particularly medium and long distance ones are made by using more than one form of transport. Rarely are these coordinated or convenient.

For example, how often have you:

  • sat in traffic, worrying whether you would catch the plane or train? 
  • fumed in a ticket queue at the station?
  • resented the cost of parking, particularly at stations and airports? 
  • been delayed and missed connections?
  • had a long wait when changing between one form of transport and another?

One of the objectives of the busway is to be part of an integrated transport system, which will cut out frustrations and annoyances like these.

A guided busway was opened in Leeds in 1995 and has witnessed a significant growth in passengers, and a further section of guideway was opened in 2001. Compared to the original bus route, the first section of guideway has seen a 75% increase in support since 1995.

Fastway system operates in West Sussex between Crawley, Horley and Gatwick. It combines sections of guided busway and dedicated bus lanes and operates on two main routes. The scheme has exceeded passenger number expectations.

The busway concept has been shown to provide the best solution to these problems.​

Back to top


Traffic regulation orders

The purpose of this order is to introduce restrictions on the busway and associated access routes.

In order to maintain a fast, frequent and reliable service for the buses operating on the busway it is necessary to ensure that unauthorised vehicles do not use the system. Restrictions will be in place at all junctions where the public highway and the busway meet and other access locations.
 
The objection period is now complete and it is our to bring the order into force as of 23 September 2013.
 
The general purpose of the orders is to introduce restrictions on the Busway and associated access routes between Blackburn Road in Houghton Regis and Kimpton Road in Luton and including the public transport interchange area adjacent to Luton Central Railway Station.
 
The general nature and effect of the orders will be to:
  1. introduce various lengths of bus only and associated routes in Luton, Dunstable and Houghton Regis
  2. introduce a 20mph speed limit on the Busway and public transport interchange area adjacent to Luton Central Railway Station between Guildford Street and Church Street, Luton
  3. introduce a 30mph speed limit on the Busway and associated routes of various lengths within Luton, Dunstable and Houghton Regis
  4. introduce a 50mph speed limit on the Busway and associated routes of various lengths within Luton, Dunstable and Houghton Regis
  5. revoke existing one way reference to Chaul End Lane Service Road, Luton in Schedule1 (One Way Streets) of The Borough of Luton (Traffic Management) Order 2011 and introduce a new reference.
Full details and copies of plans, orders and the reasons for making the orders may be inspected at:
  • Planning Reception at the Town Hall, Luton between 9.00am and 4.30pm Monday to Friday
  • Dunstable Library, Vernon Place, Dunstable, LU5 4HA between 9.00am and 6.00pm Monday to Wednesday and Friday; 9.00am and 2.00pm on Thursday; and 9.00am and 5.00pm on Saturday
  • Houghton Regis Library, Bedford Square, Houghton Regis, Dunstable, Bedfordshire, LU5 5ES, between 9.00am and 5.30pm Monday to Friday and 9am to 1pm on Saturday

Downloads

P1624 - Busway TRO - Notice 2 - Public Notice Public Notice Statement of reasons Busway TRO Plan A Plan B Plan C The borough of Luton traffic management order

Back to top


Busway information

Plan your journey, find a bus, and ticket information at Arriva.

Back to top


Part 1 compensation claims for Luton Dunstable Busway

How to make a claim for compensation under part 1 of the Land Compensation Act 1973. A claim form is available to download below.

Part 1 claims forms part of the Land Compensation Act 1973. Compensation can be claimed by people who own or occupy property that has been reduced in value by the physical factors caused by the use of a new or altered scheme (in this instance the busway).
 
The physical factors comprise any one of the following:
  • noise
  • vibration
  • smell
  • fumes
  • smoke
  • artificial lighting
  • the discharge on to the property of any solid or liquid substance
The cause of the physical factors must be in relation to the operation of the busway. For example, the noise and other adverse effects must arise from the traffic using the busway only.
 
Compensation is not payable where part of the affected property has been compulsorily acquired for the construction of the busway. This is because the effect of the use of the busway on the value of the rest of the property will have been taken into account in calculating the compensation for the part of the land taken.
 
Loss of view or privacy, or personal inconvenience experienced during the busway construction, are not eligible grounds for compensation under a Part 1 claim.
Open all

To claim, you must either have been the owner of the property or a qualifying tenant before the date the busway first came into public use (known as ‘the relevant date’), and you must also still be the owner or qualifying tenant on the date you claim.

The first day for claiming compensation is a year and a day after the busway first opened for public use (known as the ‘first claim day’). The first claim day for the busway was 26 September 2014.

The council, being the authority in charge of the scheme, will pay your reasonable professional fees if any compensation is due, but only if your claim is successful.

Our valuer (or representative) will assess the impact of the physical factors arising from the use of the busway against the value of your property on the first claim day.

The compensation will be assessed based on the amount of traffic using the busway and account taken of any future increase in traffic that could reasonably be predicted at the first claim day. In some instances, the value of a property may be increased because of the busway and such a benefit could give rise to a reduction in any compensation due.

A person whose property has been reduced in value by the physical factors caused by the use of the busway must within six years of the first claim day:

  • either agree an offer of compensation or
  • if agreement cannot be reached, ask the Upper Tribunal (Lands Chamber) to decide the amount of compensation
After the six-year statutory limitation period, you can no longer submit a claim for compensation.

Downloads

Part 1 - Compensation claims for Luton Dunstable Busway

Back to top


Luton & Dunstable Bus Users Group (LADBUG)

PLEASE NOTE: THIS GROUP IS NOT A PART OF LUTON BOROUGH COUNCIL

Are you happy with your local bus service?

Do you have questions about how it operates? Would you support a Luton / Dunstable bus users group?

If so, please contact:

Email: [email protected]
Facebook: Landbug4u
Twitter: Landbug4u
Telephone: 07852 671 681 (leave a message)​

Back to top

Contact info
Busway team
Luton Borough Council, Town Hall, George Street, Luton, Bedfordshire, LU1 2BQ
Tel: 01582 547294
Fax: 01582 546453
[email protected]

 

© 2020 Luton Council, Town Hall, Luton LU1 2BQ