The performance of most bus services is critically affected by local highway authorities’ policies on traffic management, parking and road network development. Enlightened local authorities encourage use of public transport, provide levels of support for subsidised bus services and concessionary travel beyond statutory minimum levels, invest in bus service infrastructure and promote public transport.
This Award will be won by an authority that is prepared to implement bus priorities to improve bus service reliability, ensures key bus routes are kept clear of un-controlled parking, servicing and other obstructions and has parking management and pricing policies that help maintain the competitiveness of buses with cars.
Winners: Peterborough City Council
Demonstrating Sustainable Transport in Peterborough
Over the last three years, Peterborough’s performance indicators have exceeded its LTP2 targets, and it is now recognised nationally as a leader in respect of sustainable transport. It was awarded Beacon Status for Accessibility in 2008. The Council’s innovative work and successful partnerships with bus operators, such as Stagecoach which runs the urban network in the city, has ensured that Peterborough is at the forefront of local authorities with real evidence of modal shift from car to bus.
In particular, the judges liked the mature and understanding relationship with bus operators, not least when times are hard, as well as the recognition that decisions on things like tendered services should be made on improving the quality of provision in equal measure with price, as well as the integration of such services with the commercial network.
The judges felt that Peterborough is an excellent unitary authority with a superb record in respect of public transport, and has good aspirational objectives for the future.
Runners Up: South Yorkshire Passenger Transport Executive
Improving bus services in South Yorkshire
South Yorkshire PTE is working hard in partnership with bus operators and local councils to improve bus services in its area, and is actually growing bus use after a number of years of decline.
It is developing a network of Quality Bus Corridors across the county, which include bus priority measures. Pioneering agreements with bus operators will allow buses to flow more freely on busy traffic routes in return for investment by the bus companies.
In recent years it has built or improved major interchanges in the four major centres of Sheffield, Doncaster, Rotherham and Barnsley, and promoted bus use by linking bus services to local train and tram services.
The judges were impressed by a quality entry, supported by bus operators. Although there is still much to do, South Yorkshire PTE showed it is an authority not afraid to tackle the real issues currently preventing top quality bus operation.
Essex County Council
Essex has shown it is a county council keen to tackle the major environmental and transport issues of the day.
It is one of the largest local authorities in the country and, being close to London, faces numerous transport-related problems, not least those related to growth. It is committed to delivering the best quality of life for the people of the county by reducing congestion and improving public transport.
Through investment, innovative solutions and partnership working with bus operators, Essex is helping to provide a public transport network that is a real alternative to the private car.
Although recognising there is much still to be done, the judges liked a number of initiatives, such as targeting one congestion-busting scheme in each district, a commitment to addressing car parking policy, which includes providing park-and-ride schemes, and its transportation boards focusing on the nationally-recognised growth areas in the county. They were also impressed by its targets, and the measures being taken, to improve accessibility.
West Midlands Passenger Transport Executive (Centro)
Centro has introduced major bus projects and forged exciting new partnership to boost take-up. We work in partnership with around 50 bus operators, local authorities and other groups to improve the quality of services in the region.
Of all the authorities, bus patronage per population is the highest in this region with 11.9 million passenger journeys per 100,000 people in 2006/07.
Who could be nominated?
Councils who have statutory responsibility for transport in their area. This can therefore include County Councils, Passenger Transport Executives, Unitary Authorities or Regional Transport Partnerships.
…and by whom?
We welcomed nominations from bus operators running in the relevant authority’s area. Elected members or employees of authorities may also nominate an authority but the nomination must be supported by the operators of at least two thirds of registered service mileage in the authority’s area.
Criteria and Entry Requirements
- Show the extent to which the authority actively promotes bus use.
- Demonstrate how planning policies made or influenced by the authority encourage development in areas that can be effectively served by bus
- Show that the authority’s traffic management (including bus priority) policies give maximum practical assistance to increase reliability of bus services
- Describe the authority’s parking policy, where this is under the control or influence of the authority, and show how it minimises conflict with bus services and that pricing policy takes into account the need to maintain cost competitiveness between buses and cars
- Show that concessionary travel and tendered service funds are used effectively to complement operators’ commercial networks. In particular, entries need to state whether there has been an appeal by local operators against the authority’s provisions for concessionary fares reimbursement, and the result of that appeal.
- State whether the authority consults and works with operators in developing and implementing its policies, and provide evidence that responses are genuinely taken into account
- Describe how the public are consulted by the authority about its transport policies
- State whether the authority set targets for bus performance, and explain how are these monitored?
- Supply evidence showing the overall trends in numbers of car and public transport trips (by mode, if applicable)
- Describe (including statistical analysis if available) the trends in bus reliability related to traffic causes
- State whether the results are likely to be sustainable?
- Describe any future plans for further development.
- Include any relevant supporting material, e.g. Local Transport Plan extracts and available patronage and modal split trends in support of the nomination.