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Who Provides Buses

Bus services in Bedford Borough are run by independent commercial companies, many of which are based locally. Some of these companies are part of larger national operating groups.

Under current legislation, bus services can be operated commercially by any licensed bus operator. This means that bus companies are free to decide how to run any service they choose to operate. This includes the route the service takes, which bus stops are used, the timetable of the service and the fares charged.

In order to run a new service or to alter or cancel an existing service, a bus company is only required to give 56 days notice to the Traffic Commissioners, although this notice period can be waived in exceptional circumstances.

The commercially operated routes do not cover all of the needs of bus users, particularly in rural areas, lightly used routes and evening and weekend journeys. In these situations, the Borough Council can step in and either directly contract a service from an operator or pay for additional journeys or additional pickups on an existing route.

Unfortunately, it is not possible for the Borough Council to provide a service for every journey an individual may wish to make. Instead, it aims to provide journeys to meet the needs of as many passengers as possible within the resources available to it.

In the last decade, the commercial bus network in North Bedfordshire has reduced and the number of services paid for by the Local Authority has grown. This means that whereas 80% of services used to be run commercially and 20% run with support from the Local Authority a decade ago, now just over 70% of services are run commercially with nearly 30% supported by the Local Authority.

 

Expenditure on Bus Services

One of the most frequently asked questions we receive is as to how much money the authority spends on supporting bus services.  The annual expenditure is detailed below:

Financial Year Total Expenditure Total Expenditure exc BSOG
2009/10 n/a £1,313,812.60
2010/11 n/a £1,292,213.98
2011/12 n/a £1,348,342.48
2012/13 n/a £1,460,492.76
2013/14 £1,340,247.38 £1,296,210.38
2014/15 £1,452,491.91 £1,252,093.91
2015/16 £1,514,938.76 £1,319,390.76
 2016/17 £1,553,142.96 £1,357,594.96 

 

  • BSOG was devolved to local authorities from January 2014. It is added and incorporated as part of the daily contract price and the full annual allocation is provided for bus services.  
  • Cross boundary charges are excluded (in order to avoid double counting of expenditure with other local authorities)

 

The figures shown above include contract payments to bus operators for operating local bus services.  The figures do not include concessionary fares or other reimbursements for PlusBus or for tickets purchased for scholars under our school transport policy. 

 

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Transport and Street

From parking to public transport, roads, pavements, parking and much more, this section tells you everything you need to know about transport and streets in the borough of Bedford.

 


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