West Midlands Bus Service Improvement Plan
On 15 March 2021, the Department for Transport set out the National Bus Strategy for England, to deliver better bus services for passengers, through ambitious and far-reaching reform of how services are planned and delivered.
Within the strategy there are ambitions for every local transport authority and bus operator in England to be in a statutory enhanced partnership or a franchising arrangement, using existing powers in the Bus Services Act 2017.
The strategy sets out the requirements for all local transport authorities to publish a Bus Service Improvement Plan (BSIP) to be able to access a share of the new £3 billion transformational funding from April 2022. The BSIPs are expected to set out a roadmap to better services for passengers and communities, urban and rural, and to be fully informed by local needs.
June 2021 - Enhanced Partnership
On 28 June 2021, West Midlands Combined Authority made only the second Enhanced Partnership in England, and first by a Mayoral Combined Authority region. The EP Plan covered the West Midlands, with a Scheme for the first Sprint corridor of the A34(N), A45 and B425 across Birmingham, Sandwell, Solihull and Walsall. The EP was made with the 7 constituent authorities and local bus operators.
November 2021 – West Midlands Bus Service Improvement Plan (BSIP)
Our West Midlands BSIP was published on 5 November 2021. It sets out our ambitions for continued investment in our local bus services to level up the West Midlands through Better Buses, Better Journeys and Better Fares for all our residents and visitors.
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June 2022 – BSIP indicative funding
In April 2022, West Midlands Combined Authority were offered an indicative BSIP revenue funding allocation of up to £87,857,760 to commence delivery of our West Midlands BSIP.
To secure this funding offer, we were asked by the Department for Transport to prepare a draft variation to our EP Scheme, which showed how relevant aspects of our BSIP will be implemented. This draft variation was submitted to the Department for Transport on 30 June 2022.
November 2022 – Enhanced Partnership Scheme Variation 002
From 24th November 2022 the draft variation of our EP Scheme was made official.
This unlocked funding for several improvements to the West Midlands bus network, such as:
- More consistent vehicle standards across the West Midlands Combined Authority area
- Simpler ticketing including lower fares
- New Passenger Charter
- Bus priority schemes
September 2023 – Enhanced Partnership Scheme Variation 003
The third variation to our EP Scheme was made official from 12th September 2023. You can view a copy here.
- adjusted the indicative BSIP funding allocations
- added more details around the introduction of a new passenger charter
- introduced new Basic Service Provision Standards
- defined a mechanism to rectify the over-provision of buses (where this is harming the wider bus network)
Our work on bus services
Buses are run by private companies called operators. We work with them to improve bus services in the West Midlands. We also look after bus stops and stations.
West Midlands Bus Alliance
We’re part of the West Midlands Bus Alliance. We want to make bus travel cleaner, greener, safer and faster. Find out more about the Bus Alliance.