We would like your view on all the measures in our Bus Service Improvement Plan (BSIP) for North Yorkshire.

Summary

In March 2021 the government announced the ‘Bus Back Better’ national bus strategy for England. The strategy sets out the vision and opportunity for delivering better bus services across England, with a key aim of getting more people using the buses. The strategy also sets out a number of obligations and requirements on both operators and local transport authorities in a bid to improve partnership working and be in a position to access future funding from the Department for Transport.

By the end of June 2021, all local transport authorities needed to commit to establishing an Enhanced Partnership under the Bus Services Act 2000 or begin the statutory process of franchising services. On 22 June 2021, we gave approval to proceed with the development of establishing an Enhanced Partnership.

Once we had committed to proceeding with an Enhanced Partnership, the Department for Transport outlined a series of deadlines all Local Transport Authorities must comply with including publishing a Bus Service Improvement Plan (BSIP) by the end of October 2021 and from April 2022 Local Transport Authorities must have an Enhanced Partnership in place.

Background

In the national bus strategy, the government set a series of tight timescales for local transport authorities to comply with if they wanted to receive future funding for buses.

  • End June 2021 commit to establishing an enhanced partnership
  • 31 October 2021 publish a Bus Service Improvement Plan
  • From April 2022 LTAs will need to have an Enhanced Partnership in place

In line with the approved timescales, a report was taken to the County Councils Executive on the 22 June recommending approval to proceed with an Enhanced Partnership as the preferred option. On this basis the council proceeded, and as part of the next steps began preparing a bus service improvement plan.

On 12 October, a second report was taken to the County Councils Executive to consider the Bus Service Improvement Plan (BSIP) and recommend publication .

On the 31 October the Bus Service Improvement Plan (BSIP) with a £116million funding ask was submitted to the Department for transport and was published on our website. The Bus Service Improvement Plan (BSIP) is a high level strategic document which outlines a high level vision and a number of delivery interventions to transform bus operations in North Yorkshire. The plan was developed alongside operators and a local engagement exercise.

The Department for Transport(DfT) is currently reviewing the submitted Bus Service Improvement Plan (BSIP) and is likely to make an announcement on funding in early 2022.

Following the publication of the Bus Service Improvement Plan (BSIP), focus has now moved to preparing the Enhanced Partnership plan and scheme, which is the vehicle through with the Bus Service Improvement Plan (BSIP) is delivered.

Enhanced Partnership Plan and Scheme

We have now prepared our Enhanced Partnership plan and scheme, this will be the mechanism used to deliver the specific actions in the Bus Service Improvement Plan (BSIP).

The  Enhanced Partnership plan (pdf / 1 MB) and  Enhanced Partnership scheme (pdf / 617 KB) are two separate documents and neither documents can exist on their own. The Enhanced Partnership plan is a high-level strategic document that sets the bus network in context, along with the objectives for bus services in the area. The Enhanced Partnership plan is closely linked to the Bus Service Improvement Plan (BSIP) and follows or replicates many relevant sections.

The Enhanced Partnership scheme sets out the precise detail of how the Bus Service Improvement Plan (BSIP) vision and objectives will be achieved, including any commitments made by the local authority or standards to be met by bus operators. There must always be one or more Enhanced Partnership scheme(s) in addition to the Enhanced Partnership plan.

Funding

At the time of writing the Enhanced Partnership plan and Scheme, the Bus Service Improvement Plan (BSIP) submission was still under consideration with the Department for Transport (DfT) and we are not aware of the funding we are likely to receive. This has made the writing of the scheme very difficult given we cannot commit to deliver measures when the outcome of the funding is uncertain.

Please tell us your views

We are seeking views on all the measures in the Bus Service Improvement Plan (BSIP), we believe gathering feedback from the public will help us determine what to prioritise in terms of delivery once the funding in announced.

We will not be able to offer an individual response to your feedback.

Complete our online survey

You can request a hard copy or alternative format of the survey by emailing epconsultation@northyorks.gov.uk or by writing to:

Central Admin Team
North Yorkshire County Council
County Hall
Northallerton
North Yorkshire
DL7 8AE

Responding to the consultation

The consultation asks for views on a number of measures, please take the time to read the definitions of the measures if you are unclear in what the measures are.

Scheme / Measures Description
Harrogate Transport Improvement Programme

Delivery of identified measures in the Harrogate Transport Improvement programme along the A61 corridor including sections of segregated bus lanes, bus priority signals and amendments to junctions and roundabouts to better accommodate buses.

Place based feasibility studies

Carry out a series of feasibility studies beginning in Scarborough and Selby to identify what measures could be introduced on the highway to benefit bus users for example bus priority, improving roundabouts / junctions and improving traffic signals.

Scheme / Measures Description
Bus stop upgrades including Technology an information provision upgrades

Focusing on the identified key corridors, deliver a series of improvements to existing infrastructure at bus stops, including shelters, seating, cycling facilities and security improvements.

Alongside this, a series of information improvements and upgrades will be delivered through E-ink (electronic ink) technology on key corridors and standard timetable cases at other bus stop locations.

Demand responsive roll out

Roll out of demand responsive bus services across North Yorkshire in a series of phases following the initial pilot. The first phase (Phase 1) covers a wide area including Leyburn, Richmond, Bedale, Northallerton, Thirsk and Helmsley. Phase 1 also covers the Whitby and Scarborough areas.

Scheme / Measures Description
Under 19 Child fare

Consistent qualifying child age across all operators in North Yorkshire offering 50% off fares.

Targeted promotional fares

Funding to enable the offer of promotional fares such as £1 evening fares, seasonal or Sunday promotions

Low flat fares

Continue to deliver low flat fares on Demand Responsive Transport YorBus services.

Job Seeker / Apprentice fares

50% fare for job seekers and apprentices on single and return fares.

Scheme / Measures Description
Tap on Tap off readers

Delivery of funding for circa 200 vehicles for tap on tap off readers

Contactless ticketing

Enable payment by contactless on all services

Localised ticketing company Set up a localised ticketing company
Scheme / Measures Description
Recovery Support

Funding to support commercial bus services impacted by the Covid-19 pandemic

Pump Prime – Additional Services

Pump-prime funding available to operators to delivery additional daytime, evening and weekend service

Pump Prime – New Services

Pump-prime funding available to operators to deliver new services identified in response to changing travel markets

Scheme / Measures Description
Covid Marketing

Short term marketing to support bus passenger recovery

On-going Marketing and customer surveys On-going marketing likely to cover specific promotions on the network available for operators for help with promotions. Funding to support passenger surveys across bus network in north Yorkshire.
Website development

Development of a specific website for North Yorkshire covering fares, timetables etc.

Scheme / Measures Description
Roll out of Zero Emission Buses across North Yorkshire

Rolling programme identified to deliver zero emission buses working with the operators in the selected areas.

 

Scheme / Measures Description
Parking Policies Review once local government reorganisation (LGR) happened and parking becomes full responsibility of the council.
Park & Ride Consider park and ride sits that can be sited alongside existing commercial bus routes.
Day Fare Capping

Operators have committed to provide a daily fare cap once the technology and back office function support is available. We will work with our operators on how we can deliver this sustainably.

Mandate operators on common sections of route. Mandate operators on common sections of route to accept all operators’ valid return and day tickets.
Updating and maintaining publicity

Develop a standard approach for producing, updating and maintaining publicity. This will include design standards and clarity on responsibilities for both operators and ourselves.

Next stop audio / visual announcements

Working with operators, seek to provide funding to retro-fit older vehicles to include next stop audio / visual announcements. Any new vehicles purchased by operators will provide this technology as standard.

Fleet decarbonisation Support bus operators in identifying further opportunities for funding and accelerated fleet decarbonisation, including exploring alternative fleet procurement and ownership models.
Cross Boundary Decarbonisation

We will work with our neighbouring authorities in City of York and Tees Valley to achieve zero emission operation on cross-boundary services.

In-house fleet decarbonisation

Commit to decarbonisation of our own in-house fleet of community and demand responsive transport minibuses (as and when suitable models and funding opportunities become available) that support this segment of the public service vehicle market.

Passenger Charter

Deliver a fully developed North Yorkshire Bus Passenger’s Charter.

Public Consultation

See a public consultation exercise carried out as part of the Enhanced Partnership plan.

Quality Standards

Deliver an agreed set of quality standards covering vehicle standards, complaints process and driver training that are easy to understand and widely promoted.

Passenger Safety Complete a study to understand the key issues around passenger safety in both urban and rural areas.
Marketing Strategy

In partnership with our key operators, develop a marketing strategy covering the whole of North Yorkshire.

Timetable changes

Reduce service disruption for any passengers by making timetable changes only where necessary and no more than once a year. In areas where services rely heavily on season demand, operators will coordinate any seasonal changes.

 

Deadline for your Feedback

The consultation is open from 10 January 2022 and ends at midnight on 7 February 2022. We will not be able to consider feedback after this date.

After the consultation closes

At the end of the consultation period all partners will review the feedback and produce a summary report showing the themes and any issues raised. The response will identity what measures members of the public consider most important and will help shape what measures are taken forward in the future once funding becomes available. Responses from individuals will be anonymised.

A summary of the consultation responses and next steps will be available to view online once the consultation has closed.

Frequently asked questions

A Bus Service Improvement Plan (BSIP) is a high level strategic document that sets out improvements for bus users in context for North Yorkshire. The Bus Service Improvement Plan (BSIP) has been developed in collaboration with local bus operators and local stakeholders.

The government has outlined that all local transport authorities (LTAs) need to have published a Bus Service Improvement Plan (BSIP) (alongside other requirements) in order to access the newly announced £3billion of government funding.

An Enhanced Partnership (EP) is the partnership between local authorities and bus operators that will enable the delivery of the Bus Service Improvement Plan (BSIP) objectives and measures.

An Enhanced Partnership plan is a high level document that aligns closely with the Bus Service Improvement Plan (BSIP) including the vision and objectives.

An Enhanced Partnership scheme sets out the precise detail of how the Bus Service Improvement Plan (BSIP) vision and objectives will be achieved. The Enhanced Partnership scheme will include any commitments made by the local authority and bus operators.

An Enhanced Partnership plan and scheme must exist together, and neither document can exist without the other.

As part of the Enhanced Partnership process the local transport authorities (LTA) is required to carry out a statutory consultation and wanted to extend this to the public. We wanted to gather the views of the pubic on the measures, which will hopefully help us determine what measures to prioritise once funding is announced.

The plan is a high level document and is about what measures we can put in place to encourage bus use. Due to the rural nature of the county, many services are not considered sustainable, the guidance for Bus Service Improvement Plan (BSIP) and Enhanced Partnership's makes it clear that the funding available is not for supporting services.

However, working with operators we have identified a series of potential new and improved services that could receive some initial kick start funding, however the services are considered sustainable and will be commercially operated after the initial kick start period.

No, there are no plans to reduce / remove any existing services through the Bus Service Improvement Plan (BSIP) / Enhanced Partnership process. The measures outlined in the Bus Service Improvement Plan (BSIP) are intended to grow patronage on existing services.

The measures included in the Bus Service Improvement Plan (BSIP) were agreed between the council and bus operators and take into consideration stakeholder feedback.

A funding template with an ask of £116 million was submitted to government when Bus Service Improvement Plan (BSIP) was published at the end of October. The Department for Transport (DfT) is still considering the Bus Service Improvement Plan (BSIP) and no announcement on funding has been made, this is likely to be in the New Year. However, in order to access a share of the £3billion funding, local transport authorities (LTA's) are required to issue a notice of intent to produce a Bus Service Improvement Plan (BSIP) and have an Enhanced Partnership in place by the dates required.

As mentioned above, we currently do not know how much funding we will receive from the Department for Transport (DfT). However, we are required by the Department for Transport (DfT) to have the Enhanced Partnership plan and Enhanced Partnership scheme in place by April 2022. As the Enhanced Partnership scheme is a legally binding document, with a requirement to deliver whatever is detailed in the Enhanced Partnership scheme document, we have only committed to deliver a measure we know we can deliver and can be funded from existing budgets. Once the funding settlement has been announced we have the ability to vary the Enhanced Partnership scheme though a bespoke mechanism, which will allow us to include further measures into the Enhanced Partnership scheme.

The timescales the council are working to are dictated by those set out by central government in the National Bus Strategy. The Enhanced Partnership needs to be in place by the beginning of April 2022. In terms of delivery, until we know the funding allocation we will receive it is not possible to outline a programme for the delivery of the specific measures.