Planning for buses guidance


In January 2022, England’s Economic Heartland, Transport East 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.

Fares and ticketing

This support package has helped local transport authorities gain an increased level of understanding of best practice and a greater competence on bus fares and ticketing issues, including;
– fare levels (affordability vs revenue)
– fare structures
– ticketing models
– benchmarking fare levels and structures/models
– concessionary fares
– revenue modelling

Supporting documents:

Fares and ticketing advice note


There is opportunity for a follow up session with a subject matter expert. Please get in touch by emailing

Data Analysis, Monitoring and Evaluation

This support package helps LTAs:

  • understand which data metrics to use in different circumstances e.g. to build a convincing business case, or to measure a project against its objectives.
  • understand how to monitor
    – the number of users by day/service/individual journey
    – service
    – behaviours and perceptions of bus and non-bus users
  • identify the right data sets particularly where information already exists or where primary data collection is required
  • identify the most cost-effective methods of collecting data and the common pitfalls
  • understand when qualitative data should be used
  • set relevant SMART objectives to enable success to be evaluated
  • improve the quality of future BSIP submissions and funding requests and evaluate existing BSIP performance

Supporting documents:



Low cost and quick wins

This support package helps LTAs identify effective quick win and or low-cost schemes that enable an increase in the number of bus initiatives to be delivered.

They have been shown how to develop a communication strategy that can be applied to a range of schemes that deliver bus improvements

Case studies have been provided to help establish appropriate criteria for evaluating and monitoring the success of quick win schemes

Via webinars, technical notes and one to ones, we have helped to identify and evaluate low cost schemes that can be delivered through a better allocation of existing capital or revenue budgets or make the best use of established funding sources (for example S106 contributions).

Supporting documents:


Building a strong case

This support package helps LTAs:

  • develop a clear understanding of the importance of road-space reallocation in improving bus service reliability and journey times and how these drive increases in patronage
  • communicate and demonstrate benefits of reallocating road space to bus services using a suite of materials including; copy, graphics, graphs, charts and tables that can be used on LTAs’ own materials into the future
  • demonstrate the benefits of improved bus services for regional communities
  • understand typical key players in local communities and how to address their concerns effectively
  • develop greater skills in influencing and negotiating with stakeholders

Bus infrastructure guidance

This support package helps:

  • explore alternative, compliant design solutions to help implement road infrastructure that aligns with the BSIP priorities
  • examine competing demands for road space and identify an approach to assessing where bus infrastructure improvements should be prioritised, within the context of emerging local transport plans
  • identify realistic delivery time frames for the implementation of different types and scales of bus infrastructure
  • develop a checklist of requirements to build a clear evidence base on the benefits and impacts of proposed bus infrastructure

Supporting document:


Demand Responsive Transport

This support package helps:

  • develop a better understanding of demand responsive transport (DRT) scheme design through case studies in urban/suburban and rural areas.
  • increase their knowledge on how to create a commercially successful scheme.

Supporting document:


Please also see DfT’s demand responsive transport: local authority toolkit.

Rural hubs and integration

This support package helps:

  • examine a set of examples of rural transport hubs that reflect a variety of mode interchange and levels of service that can be used as a strategic basis for future proposals within their areas
  • develop a list of requirements when writing proposals for future interchange hubs
  • see first hand what is achievable through pursuit of lowest-possible-cost implementation of rural interchange hubs

Supporting document:


Funding mechanisms

This support package helps:

  • increase awareness and understanding on the range of bus service and infrastructure funding types available
  • improve approach to successful bid writing for individual funding streams through written guidance provided in the Technical Note with advice on accessing multiple funding streams outlined
  • broaden understanding of the range of potential bus infrastructure improvement proposals they could pursue through scheme funding applications

Supporting document:


Collaborative working and bus forums

This support package helps LTAs collaborate via regional quarterly forums with LTAs across STB geographies learn from each other by providing clear structures of responsibility and accountability of bus services, and communicating how and when different forums are occurring.

It will help to develop an appropriate approach to engaging with bus operators, to build collaborative and long-term working relationships around delivering bus improvements (in conjunction with a wider Communications Strategy developed as part of Support Package 3 Low Cost and Quick Wins).

The first of the Forums was held early 2023, with quarterly forums diarised for the remainder of 2023.

To find out more about the Forum please contact


This support package helps:

  • better understand travel needs (e.g. identifying potentials users based on market segmentation) and provide imaginative marketing based on aspects that would appeal (e.g. price, journey time and convenience)
  • identify data, research and best practice to better understand the bus market
  • overcome widespread poor perceptions of bus use and considering how lapsed or first time bus users could be attracted
  • identify connections between potential users and their local services to explain how bus services could be beneficial to them e.g. demonstrating positive comparisons with car use (e.g. avoiding car parking, overcoming delays, comparable end-to-end journey times, fares and true car cost calculators.)
  • design branding to fulfil these requirements

Supporting document:


Alternative/low emission fuels

This support package helps:

  • increase understanding of a range of alternative fuels available and how applicable they are for their specific region/network; This will be done through over the course of the programme outlining guidance related to Hydrogen, CNG, Electric and Biofuel with a discussion being held on the relative appropriateness for these different types in the region
  • increase understanding of appropriate funding and procurement mechanisms including understanding issues around state aid. This will look to cover both leasing and outright purchasing options. The appropriateness of different mechanisms will be indicated in the written guidance
  • be able to work with operators to establish their roles and responsibilities when transitioning to alternative and low emission fuels
  • Improve their understanding of the steps required to transition their whole bus network to alternative / low emission vehicles