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Enhanced Partnership and Bus Service Improvement Plan

Cornwall's Enhanced Partnership

In March 2021, the Government published Bus Back Better. This is the first National Bus Strategy. It is aimed at transforming public transport and driving the green recovery.  Bus Back Better requires local transport authorities and bus operators to work together to:

  • establish Enhanced Partnerships
  • develop Bus Service Improvement Plans

Bus Service Improvement Plan set out what the Enhanced Partnership will deliver to make buses easier, cheaper and more convenient to use.

Bus Back Better is seen as welcome guidance by Cornwall Council. The content and direction of strategy reflects the work undertaken by the Transportation Service in recent years to deliver the One Public Transport System for Cornwall (OPTSfC) programme.

Cornwall Council, in collaboration with bus operators, has developed an Enhanced Partnership Plan and Scheme. 

In order to formally ‘make’ the Plan and Scheme, the Council followed the statutory guidance and processes, consulting operators of qualifying local bus services and undertaking stakeholder consultation.

One objection was received from Royal Buses during the operator objection period.  This objection alone was insufficient to prevent the Enhanced Partnership process from continuing and has in fact led to further positive engagement. 

Cornwall’s Enhanced Partnership Plan and Scheme was updated -

  • November 2022 to reflect the Bus Service Improvement Plan (BSIP) funding award.
  • August 2023 to reflect the Bus Service Improvement Plan Plus (BSIP+) funding award - additional funding for 2023/24 and 2024/25 - as well as scheme updates.

Enhanced Partnership Variation 02 - August 2023

For further information, please contact: 

Bus Service Improvement Plan

The Government's Bus Back Better strategy contained an announcement of £3bn of funding. This funding aims to help improve bus services across England making buses easier to use, more reliable and more affordable.

This Strategy requires local authorities to develop Bus Service Improvement Plans (BSIP). These are a way of bidding for funding to improve local bus services.

Cornwall Council has worked with local bus operators to develop its BSIP. The BSIP presents a shared vision for the future of buses in Cornwall.

In April 2022, Cornwall Council was awarded indicative funding of up to £13.3m to deliver a package of schemes within its BSIP over the next three years. The Council worked with the Department for Transport to agree the priorities for this spend during Spring/Summer 2022. Upon agreement of the priorities, the Council received confirmation of the funding in August 2022.

In July 2023, additional revenue funding, known as BSIP+, was awarded to some local transport authorities to enable them to maintain existing bus networks following the end of government funding to support the bus industry recovery post-pandemic.  Cornwall Council will receive £3.9m split across 2023/24 and 2024/25.

BSIP funding can only fund improvement schemes agreed with the Government. These schemes aim to maintain the network, improve bus priority, reliability, simplify fares and grow patronage.

Cornwall Council's Bus Service Improvement Plans

BSIP Annual Review 2022

Local authorities are required to deliver annual BSIP updates. Cornwall has produced a BSIP Annual Review for 2022.

This Review was developed as part of the Transport for Cornwall Enhanced Partnership (EP) and covers the work of the Partnership over the last 12 months to deliver against Cornwall’s BSIP aims and objectives. During this time, the partners have worked hard together to change the face of public transport in Cornwall and improve the overall experience for our customers.

The highlights of our delivery in 2022 are included in Cornwall Council's BSIP Annual Review

Cornwall’s Zero Emission Bus Regional Areas (ZEBRA 2) Bids

The Department for Transport recently launched a £129m Zero Emission Bus Regional Areas (ZEBRA 2) fund. This funding aims to help local authorities introduce new zero emission buses (ZEBs) into the local fleet. £25m of this fund is available for rural local authorities.

Local authorities can bid for up to:

  • 75% of the difference between a ZEB and a conventional diesel bus; and
  • 75% of the required charging infrastructure.

Cornwall Council has developed two ZEBRA 2 bids. These bids require match-funding from the Council's Climate Change and Renewable Energy Capital Fund: 

Package 1 – A joint bid with Plymouth City Council and Go-Ahead (Plymouth Citybus / Go Cornwall Bus). Cornwall Council will make a financial contribution towards 6 electric buses in South-East Cornwall (Rame Peninsula area) for the service 70 and the required charging infrastructure.  This forms part of a larger bid between Plymouth City Council and Go Ahead which will deliver charging infrastructure at the main depot in Plymouth and 50 new electric buses. See Plymouth bus service improvements for further information on this bid.

Package 2 – A Cornwall Council-led bid to bring 7 electric buses to the Truro Park & Ride Service, plus the electric charging infrastructure. The bid will also introduce an electric bus on the Falmouth Town Service 60 route and cover the charging infrastructure unit at the OTS bus depot.    

If successful, 14 electric buses could be introduced to Cornwall's fleet.  This will help the Council to progress towards decarbonising transport in Cornwall. It will also help to pave the way for the future delivery of electric vehicles into Cornwall’s fleet.

  • Deadline for submissions of bids - 15th December 2023
  • Funding announcement - March 2024.
  • Successful schemes will be delivered in 2025
Bus Information 

Local bus operators have worked together to produce an integrated map and timetable booklet covering all operators’ services.  These are available on the Transport for Cornwall website  and presents bus information in one place. Local rail operator, GWR, is also part of the partnership and is working with us to integrate branding and customer information for bus and rail services.  GWR has added on-board announcements on their train services to advise passengers of bus connections at key stops. 

More information on fares, discounts and ways to pay is available on the Transport for Cornwall website .  

Here is a link to a short video that explains how Public Transport is changing.

Any Ticket, Any Bus

*exclusions apply, park and ride services and privately contracted journeys

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