Bus back better plan begins in Dorset

In response to the Government’s new National Bus Strategy, which aims to make bus services more attractive, cheaper, easier to use, faster, more reliable, and greener, Dorset Council is developing a Bus Service Improvement Plan (BSIP).

The plan will be a collaboration with local bus operators, community groups, business groups, and with passengers themselves.

The council has reviewed the options that Dorset has through the National Bus Strategy. Their preferred approach is to develop an Enhanced Partnership for the council area.

An Enhanced Partnership is an agreement between the council and local bus operators to work together to improve local bus services. It requires an agreed vision of improvements and an action plan that will form the BSIP.

The BSIP will act on five key areas:

  1. Networks and services
  2. Fares
  3. Ticketing
  4. Passenger facilities
  5. Bus priority measures

Cllr Ray Bryan, Dorset Council’s Portfolio Holder for highways, travel and environment, said: “This is the most significant change for bus services since deregulation in 1986. By working in close collaboration with operators and local groups we will develop and deliver an ambitious Bus Service Improvement Plan for Dorset that puts the passenger first, raises further the perception of bus travel, generates mode shift away from private cars, and sees decarbonisation of the local transport fleet.”

As part of the process to develop the BSIP, the council will be talking with  community groups, business groups, passengers  and the public to collect a wide range of thoughts and ideas which will help to shape the future vision and priorities for our bus network. The BSIP will be published in the autumn.

Meanwhile, following the Transport Technology Forum’s (TTF) very successful Fire-Side chat webinars over the winter, it has announced its first Pool-Side chat of the summer –  ITS and the Bus Back Better Initiative.

The Bus Back Better national strategy sets out the vision and opportunity to deliver better bus services for passengers across England, through ambitious and far-reaching reform of how services are planned and delivered. This event will explore the role intelligent transport technology will play in delivering this vision.


Panelists will outline how emerging Intelligent Transport Systems technology will help everyone deliver the Bus Back Better vision. After a short overview of the report, discussing changes in regulation and examples of projects which have grown patronage, the session will get into the detail of how data and technology can support local authorities with their decision making.

This technology includes real time information, bus open data services, mobile and inter-operable ticketing and traffic signal priority. The session will also look at how this can be used to plan new routes and how local authorities can work out whether their strategies are working. There will also be some thoughts on how buses can integrate with active travel modes, and even how data on the movement of buses can help local authorities with their overall traffic management strategies.

Panelists include;

Steve Gooding, Director, RAC Foundation

Meera Nayyar, Head of Passenger Experience, Department for Transport

Claire Walters, CEO, Bus Users UK

Andy Graham, Managing Director, White Willow Consulting


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