The Government launched the National Bus Strategy – Bus Back Better, in March 2020, setting an ambitious vision to dramatically improve bus services across England. The strategy places a requirement on all Local Transport Authorities to prepare a Bus Service Improvement Plan (BSIP), working in partnership with local bus operators and neighbouring local authorities.
This is the first Bus Service Improvement Plan (BSIP) for Reading, outlining our overarching vision and ambitions for buses in the town, and forming a sub-strategy to the emerging Reading Transport Strategy 2036. The plan identifies key areas for improvement in the local bus network, building on our strong track record of having the second highest level of bus usage in the country outside of London (per head of population) before the Covid pandemic.
In order to bring about the partnership working that will be required to deliver the BSIP strategy, we are working to establish Enhanced Partnership arrangements with all local bus operators by April 2022. More information will be provided on this page as this progress is progressed.
As required by legislation, our commitment to establish these arrangements is set out below:
At its meeting of the Strategic Environment, Planning and Transport Committee on 30th June 2021, Reading Borough Council gave approval to proceed with the development of an Enhanced Partnership. The commencement of this is confirmed through this notice of the intention to prepare an Enhanced Partnership Plan and accompanying Enhanced Partnership Schemes, as required and set out in section 138F of the Transport Act 2000.
Reading Borough Council has prepared an Enhanced Partnership Plan and Scheme and formal notice, giving qualifying local bus operators the right to object, was issued on Wednesday 12th January 2022.
Following the 28-day operator objection period the Council received two operator objections:
1. Arriva The Shires Ltd
2. Go-Ahead (Oxford Bus Company and Thames Travel)
These objections combined do not meet the required threshold, using the specific criteria required under the relevant legislation, to halt the process of consultation and implementation of the EP Plan and Scheme. The Council is therefore proceeding with the consultation with the statutory consultees.
Reading Borough Council intends to proceed to make the Enhanced Partnership Plan and Scheme with no modifications as a result of the stakeholder consultation. At a meeting of the Strategic Environment, Planning and Transport Committee, the Council decided to make the EP Plan and EP Scheme, which will come into effect on Friday 1st April 2022.
Reading Borough Council has made the Enhanced Partnership Plan and Scheme with no modifications as a result of the stakeholder and public consultation. The EP Plan and Scheme will support the improvement of all local bus services operating in the RBC LTA area. The EP Plan and EP Scheme came into effect on Friday 1st April 2022.
Information regarding this notice can be found from Section 6.6 of the National Bus Strategy.