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Bus Back Better


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.

Here is an overview of the eleven support packages that are on offer between December 2022 and April 2023.

Please note: As each support package is completed links to the webinars and advice notes will be added to this web page.

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Fares and Ticketing

This support package has helped local transport authorites 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

It has enabled LTAs to work closely with bus operators, and increase their confidence in developing and implementing fares and ticketing schemes

They have confidently been able to proceed with development of fares and ticketing improvement schemes in their local area, which can be captured in their Enhanced Partnership plans and schemes

Two supporting documents have been published for your continued use, to support you with future fares and ticketing schemes:

Please see the webinar and support presentation below:

Webinar 1 – Fares and ticketing – 13 February 2023
Click here to view the presentation for the fares and ticketing webinar that took place on 13 February 2023

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

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Data Analysis, Monitoring and Evaluation

This support package will help 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

The Data, Analysis, Monitoring and Evaluation support package will provide:

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Webinar – Data, analysis, monitoring and evaluation – 30 March 2023
Click here to view the accompanying slides

Low cost and quick wins

This support package has helped 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)

Please see below our previously held webinar, supporting presentation and technical note:

Webinar 1 – Low cost, quick wins – 15 February 2023
Click here to view the presentation that was used for this webinar.

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Building a strong case

This support package will help 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 will help LTAs:

  • 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

The bus infrastructure guidance support package will provide:

Demand Responsive Transport

This support package will help LTAs:

  • 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.

As part of the demand responsive transport support package, we have provided a technical note that covers how typical DRT schemes operate in a range of scales and contexts. Please see below document.

We will be providing case study examples of DRT and community schemes with a particular focus on:
– Scope, including geographical extent and areas services (urban or rural)
– Fares and ticketing arrangements, including fare structure and booking system, financing arrangements and lessons learned during implementation

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

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Rural hubs and integration

This support package will help LTAs:

  • 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

For the rural hubs and integration, we have produced a technical note that covers:

  • best practice multi-modal interchanges for small rural settlements of various sizes and typologies, from small villages to coastal settlements
  • typical infrastructure requirements and specifications in multi modal rural interchanges
  • cost effective approaches to developing multi-modal rural interchanges and integrating rural transport services

Please note the above technical note was updated on 18 April 2023 to incorporate England’s Economic Heartland’s Mobility Hub study.

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Funding mechanisms

This support package will help LTAs:

  • increase their awareness and understanding on the range of bus service and infrastructure funding types available
  • improve their 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 their understanding of the range of potential bus infrastructure improvement proposals they could pursue through scheme funding applications

The funding mechanisms support package will provide a technical note covering:

  • different funding mechanisms that have been utilised for different bus systems, to understand more about the respective suitability for different types of funding mechanisms for LTAs and operators
  • case studies of successful bids for various funding mechanisms, including bids to government funding streams as well as funding acquired via private initiatives

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Collaborative working and bus forums

This support package will help 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.

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      This support package will help LTAs:

      • 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

      The marketing support package will provide a technical note that will cover:

      • different case studies that explore successful marketing schemes, looking at pre-journey marketing (such as market segmentation and how to target certain elements of bus travel to different groups)
      • case studies of well designed bus branding

      This support package will help LTAs:

      • increase their 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 their 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

      The alternative/low emission fuels support package will provide a webinar and technical note that will cover:

      • specialist advice in relation to the availability and maturity of fuel and technology options
      • different specifications and requirements for vehicles based on different fuel types
      • bus fleet, network and operational considerations
      • funding and procurement models
      • governance and workforce requirements and integration with wider fleet vehicles (eg, waste vehicle fleets)
      Alternative Fuels and Low Emissions Webinar – 31 March 2023
      Click here to see the accompanying slides

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