Buses are a flexible and sustainable option, forming an important piece of the public transport network

Bus services in large parts of the region are limited. When good bus provision is in place, they provide an essential, sustainable connection between urban, suburban, market and coastal towns and rural communities.

Transport East supports the approach set out in the government’s Bus Back Better Strategy. This sees Enhanced Partnerships between local authorities and operators setting Bus Service Improvement Plans to improve customer experience, journey times and reliability locally. However, funding required to achieve these ambitions across the region remains inconsistent.

Working with partners, we’re supporting Local Authority led Enhanced Partnerships with local bus operators to work towards ambitious networks by:

  • Advocating for stable and increased government funding for bus services, particularly those in rural areas where bus provision is difficult to deliver, as identified in our rural work.
  • Encouraging more coordination of different public transport options to make journeys easy to plan and take, including customer information and payment.
  • Working regionally to improve cross-boundary services.
  • Promoting for more flexibility for councils and operators to run new types of service, such as mini-buses booked on-demand through apps.
  • Supporting the prioritisation of bus services at congestion hotspots to keep journeys quick and reliable.

Bus Back Better

In January 2022, Transport East, England’s Economic Heartland and Transport for the South East were awarded £300,000 of funding (£100,000 per STB area) to support local transport authorities with the delivery of their Bus Service Improvement Plans (BSIPs) and Enhanced Partnerships (EPs).

This funding supports all local transport authorities by providing support they need to deliver on commitments in Government’s Bus Back Better strategy and to develop an effective intra-regional bus network.

Following a process of engagement with the local authorities from across the three STB areas, eleven packages of support have now been developed.