Deadline looms for council bus improvement bids


18 October 2021

English local transport authorities must submit their bus improvement service plans (BSIPs) to the DfT by the end of October in order to receive a share of new £3bn funding.

Under the Government’s National Bus Strategy, published in March (LTT 22 March), all LTAs in England (outside London) must prepare plans for EPs or follow the statutory process to decide whether to implement a franchising scheme.

To receive funding, authorities will have to set out whether they plan to deliver an Enhanced Partnership (EP) or franchising. The DfT said this will be “critical” in deciding how much funding an authority will receive.

In order to access new funding, which will cover both capital and revenue support, authorities will have to decide by the end of March 2022 either to opt for an EP Scheme or follow the statutory processes to develop a bus franchising assessment, said the DfT. 

BSIPs must include details of potential funding (both capital and resource) required to deliver the expectations set out in the strategy.

Two tranches of funding will be available, one allocated by formula to all LTAs based on the overall quality of their BSIP, along with other relevant information, and a separate tranche of funding for specific larger schemes. 

The DfT said that besides the £3bn funding, authorities must consider other bus funding sources and schemes such as the Bus Services Operators Grant, Revenue Support Grant, Levelling Up fund and the City Region Sustainable Transport Settlements for mayoral combined authorities.

All 79 local transport authorities in England have submitted a commitment to enter into an EP or franchising for bus services, said the DfT (LTT 26 July). 

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