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How we're improving bus services

Central Bedfordshire Council: Notice of intent to develop an Enhanced Partnership for Bus Services (published Wednesday, 30 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.

Following Section 138F of the Transport Act 2000 and Section 9 of the Transport Act 2017, Central Bedfordshire Council gives notice of its intention to prepare an Enhanced Partnership for bus services (“the Proposed Partnership”).

It is envisaged that the Proposed Partnership will apply to the whole of the Central Bedfordshire Council’s area.

All operators of registered local bus services which operate within the Central Bedfordshire Council area will be invited to participate in the development and delivery of the Enhanced Bus Partnership.

Notice under Section 138F (1) (c) of the Transport Act 2000 that our Enhanced Partnership Plan and scheme have been prepared. Notice published 18 November 2021

Central Bedfordshire Council’s Enhanced Partnership Plan and Scheme have now been prepared.

Notice under section 138G of the Transport Act 2000 that we intend to proceed with making our Enhanced Partnership Plan and Scheme. Notice published 17 February 2022

Central Bedfordshire Council now intend to proceed with making our Enhanced Partnership & Scheme. The Plan and Scheme, as prepared, and subject to securing funding from the Department for Transport (DfT), will deliver the Council’s Bus Service Improvement Plan by setting operating standards, expanding the bus network, enhancing electronic and printed service information for passengers, developing multi-operator, multi-journey ticketing, improving buses, increasing priority for buses and greater liaison between operators and the Council.

Notice under Section 138G of the Transport Act 2000 that Central Bedfordshire Council has made the Central Bedfordshire Enhanced Partnership Plan and Scheme

Date of Notice: 21 February 2022.

The Central Bedfordshire Enhanced Partnership Plan & Scheme was made on 8 February 2022.

For further information please contact our Passenger Transport Team at

Our plan for developing bus services

Our initial Bus Service Improvement Plan was published in October 2021. The plan will be updated annually: the most recent version was published in October 2022.

View or download our Bus Service Improvement Plan (PDF)

Following the government’s announcement in March of a new National Bus Strategy (Bus Back Better) we undertook a two-week consultation to better understand what would encourage people to use buses more often.

View or download the results of our bus consultation (Word).

Through discussions with bus operators and other stakeholders, and reflecting the results of the consultation we have developed our Bus Service Improvement Plan, which contains high-level visions and key interventions. This is the first step towards an Enhanced Partnership being made between us and local bus operators. Once developed, the Enhanced Partnership will be charged with taking forward the agreed plan and measures, subject to government funding being secured over the next few years, to ultimately grow bus patronage and the recovery from the coronavirus pandemic.

The Bus Service Improvement Plan measures

Short term (2021 to 2022/23)

In the short term, we plan to:

  • launch ‘Get on Board’ campaign to encourage bus travel, post pandemic restrictions
  • lower fares for young people
  • introduce later, earlier and Sunday journeys
  • centralise production of all timetables, bus stop publicity and a single app and web portal to access all bus providers’ service and fares information
  • create a passenger charter and a bus users’ forum

Medium term (2022/23 to 2024/25)

The medium term, we plan to:

  • introduce multi-operator, multi-journey ticketing and fare capping
  • develop a strategy to install more real-time passenger information displays and passenger shelters
  • install systems to give buses priority through traffic signals
  • recruit a team of ‘Ambussadors’ to help passengers during their journeys

Long term (2025 and beyond)

In the long term, we plan to:

  • develop rural interchange hubs, allowing more connecting journeys to be made
  • provide zero emission buses on the Luton-Dunstable busway network, to benefit the wider area

View or download our Bus Service Improvement Plan (PDF)

What happens next?

We have now created an Enhanced Partnership between ourselves and the bus operators.

An Enhanced Partnership is an agreement between us (as the local transport authority) and local bus operators to work together to improve local bus services. It includes a clear vision of the improvements that the partnership is aiming for and accompanying actions to achieve them. We have formal responsibility to form the partnership and can only proceed with proposals if we have the support and input of local bus operators and other board members.

We were required to publish an Enhanced Partnership Plan & Scheme detailing how we intend to improve bus services across Central Bedfordshire. Our Enhanced Partnership Plan was published on 6 February 2022 and then updated on 9 December 2022 following further discussions with DfT and our Partnership Board members. The Partnership Plan should be read in conjunction with the Central Bedfordshire Bus Service Improvement Plan (BSIP).

View or download our Enhanced Partnership Plan and Scheme (PDF).

In April 2022 we were pleased to be offered indicative funding of £3.724m over the years 2022/23 – 2024/25 to implement the measures identified in our Bus Service Improvement Plan. This funding allocation was confirmed in November 2022 and we expect to receive the first instalment of funding early in 2023.

Contact us

If you have any questions, please email us.