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Bus Service Improvement Plan for Cheshire West and Chester

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 area.

Since the publication of the National Bus Strategy (NBS) we have been working in collaboration with local bus operators to develop our Bus Service Improvement Plan (BSIP) and latterly establish an Enhanced Partnership for the Borough. Our co-produced Bus Service Improvement Plan for Cheshire West and Chester was submitted to the Department for Transport in October 2021. This set out our proposals for the future, should funding; mentioned in the NBS, be allocated to the authority. Unfortunately, we were not one of the few authorities to receive funding, we still feel our BSIP was both robust and ambitious, and with funding would enable the Enhanced Partnership to deliver the changes needed to allow the bus to be a fully integrated transport mode and mode of choice for the many, not the few. In setting out our proposals we have worked closely with operators and have taken on board the comments you made in our recent engagement survey.

The NBS asks that authorities must review their BSIPs on an annual basis to monitor performance, address need, remain relevant and cost effective to deliver. The first revision is now available:

The original BSIP is also available to view:

For further information or if you would like to be part of a Bus Passenger User Group we hope to establish for west Cheshire, please email the Transport and Infrastructure team:

Email Transport and Infrastructure team

Enhanced Partnership for bus services in the borough

We have made the Enhanced Partnership Plan and Enhanced Partnership Scheme in line with a new Bus Service Improvement Plan, endorsed by our Cabinet and submitted to the Department for Transport (DfT) in April 2022.

The Bus Passenger Charter, created in partnership with our team of bus operators, is a pledge to provide the best possible bus network in Cheshire West and Chester. 

Unfortunately, we have not received a funding settlement for our BSIP, however, the Department expects Local Transport Authorities (and therefore the Enhanced Partnerships) that didn’t receive funding to deliver:

  • a statutory EP and scheme, with appropriate governance and bespoke variation mechanisms (having the correct governance in place to make changes to services in collaboration with operators)
  • a passenger charter, giving bus users rights to specified standards of service, covering punctuality, vehicle cleanliness, proportion of services operated, information and a system for redress
  • a commitment from the Local Transport Authority to retain all existing bus priority measures in the geographical area of the EP (e.g., bus lanes and traffic light systems that give priority to buses at junctions), with a description of each included in the EP scheme
  • a commitment from operators to reinvest any operating cost savings from any new bus priority provided in the future into the delivery of improvements in the Bus Service Improvement Plan
  • a commitment that all operators in the EP area will either draw on a single source of bus service information or publish the details of all services in the area on their website and in timetables

Support from DfT includes continuing to work with potential partners on a technical solution to facilitate pay-as-you-go multi-operator revenue allocation to aid multi operator ticketing, a dedicated resource, and training through the Bus Centre of Excellence.