Those of you who have read Boris’ fanciful wish list called the National Bus Strategy will note that it encourages partnerships between local authorities and bus operators. Quite right too, as partnership is the only way to encourage more people to use buses.
A partnership will work if each partner brings what they do best to the arrangement. Local authorities need to cover bus priority and traffic management, design of roads and estates so buses can effectively serve them, good access to town centres, sensible parking strategies and access to funding from central and local government. Operators bring their knowledge of the network and passenger flows to the partnership, plus scheduling and operational experience, and should design networks with input from local authorities.
In my previous article, I described the situation in Wilmslow, Cheshire, where the bus network has seen significant reductions over time. Even with more funding, the result would have been similar. But in this month’s article, I will describe a wholly avoidable situation in Staffordshire.