Bus Service Improvement Plan (BSIP)

A series of workshops were held with stakeholders from across Suffolk. These were used to capture thoughts and ideas to promote and develop a sustainable bus network for Suffolk. Feedback from the workshops and analysis of the existing bus services have been used to inform the content of our BSIP.

The guidance to local authorities and bus operators was published in May 2021. This included a template for the BSIP document.

The guidance states that the BSIP:

“…should describe in outline how a Local Transport Authority (LTA) and operators in an area can achieve the overarching goal of the National Bus Strategy – to grow bus patronage: both to build it back after the pandemic and then to increase it and raise buses’ mode share.”

The guidance also acknowledges:

“Given that BSIPs will have to be produced within six months, they will necessarily be outlines. We do not expect vastly detailed and granular documents running to hundreds of pages. Nor will we take them as definitive or immutable commitments or statements of intent on your part.”

BSIP2 Update Summary

Further details of how our £3.6 million allocation has been spent to date. We have received £1.8 million from government for the first year of funding with the second year’s funding allocation being released once we have submitted an update of our Bus Service Improvement Plan to the Department for Transport by 12 June 2024.

In summary, we have allocated the £1.8 million in the following ways:

  • £460,000 to support and stabilise the existing bus network and maintain essential social and economic transport links for local communities.
  • £150,000 will be used to develop bus priority schemes, creating opportunities for smoother and more convenient bus journeys and making bus travel a more attractive transport option.
  • £1.2 million to support operator- and local community-led proposals for new or enhanced services across the county.

Following an open call for suggestions on how to spend the £1.2 million, we received more than 60 scheme & service suggestions from operators and community groups with a total value of more than £10 million. Submissions were reviewed against criteria including value for money, the number of passengers that could benefit, how they integrate with existing services, and their likely long-term financial sustainability after the BSIP2 funding ends. Summary of all BSIP2 schemes submitted (PDF 547KB).

Schemes awarded funding include:

  • Enhancements of the 84 and 753 services connecting Sudbury to Colchester and Bury St Edmunds
  • Enhancements of the 521 service connecting Halesworth, Saxmundham and Aldeburgh
  • A re-route of the 14/15 service from Haverhill to Bury St Edmunds to serve West Suffolk Hospital and to increase frequency
  • Enhancements to the Buzzabout community transport service serving villages north of Lowestoft
  • New services connecting villages between Stowmarket and Mendlesham and surrounding villages
  • Development of a new demand-responsive transport service to connect Brett Valley villages with commercial services in Hadleigh and Lavenham
  • New services from Bramford to Ipswich and Stowupland to Stowmarket
  • Enhancements to the operation of the Beyton/Thurston/Elmswell/Woolpit taxibus

Inception meetings with all scheme leaders were held in January 2024 to confirm there were no fatal flaws in the schemes being proposed. They were then presented to the Suffolk Enhanced Partnership Board on 27 February 2024 to agree to take them forward as a variation to our existing Enhanced Partnership scheme.

We are pleased that the successful new schemes will support residents not only in our urban centres but in communities spread across the county. All schemes are expected to commence operations between April 2024 and September 2024.

We also now have a strong pipeline of schemes to develop when future funding opportunities present themselves. We hosted senior officers from the Department for Transport’s Bus Reform team on Monday 11 March, who were impressed with our approach to involving the community in developing proposals for improving bus services across Suffolk, and encouraged by the breadth of schemes we now have ready to deliver if future central government funding is announced.





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