UK bus plan aims to roll out London model across England16 March 2021

The UK government has published a bus strategy that aims to replicate the London franchising model throughout the rest of England. It says its vision is simpler fares, thousands of new buses, improved routes and higher frequencies.

As part of this, it plans to do away with privatised local services, with a consultation planned this autumn on reform of the Bus Service Operators Grant. In a news story, the government said: “The fragmented, fully commercialised market, which has operated outside London since 1986, will end. We want to see operators and local councils enter into statutory ‘enhanced partnerships’ or franchising agreements to receive the new funding and deliver the improvements.”

Transport Secretary Grant Shapps said: “The strategy we’re unveiling today will completely overhaul services, ensuring we build back better from the pandemic. Key to it is the new deal it offers to councils – we will provide unprecedented funding, but we need councils to work closely with operators, and the government, to develop the services of the future.”

The full plan is available via

For rural areas, the government has published 17 successful applications from 2020 for rural mobility fund to establish trials of on-demand services; they are all local councils and grants range from 1.497m to Nottinghamshire County Council to £700,000 to Norfolk County Council.

In addition, the government says it will buy ‘at least’ 4,000 zero-emission buses from UK companies.

It has also launched a consultation about ending the sale of new diesel-powered buses (no date is suggested). The consultation is open until 11 April. See

Transport Engineer

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