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Public transport

Information on buses, trains, travel schemes, and transport for disabled people.

Bus services

Most buses are operated commercially by companies such as Trent Barton, Stagecoach and Arriva. Many others are run under contract to us.

We recommend the use of buses and trains in a variety of ways:

  • providing socially-necessary local bus services
  • providing home-to-school transport
  • part-funding the 'Traveline' telephone enquiry service
  • publishing comprehensive timetable books and route maps
  • maintaining the online journey planner and timetable finder database
  • funding and administering concessionary fares for disabled and elderly people, children and students
  • supporting community transport
  • supporting the development of train services
  • promoting the Derbyshire Wayfarer day rover ticket
  • developing local transport plans and policies

The National Bus Strategy

On 15 March 2021 the government published the first National Bus Strategy for England.

The main objective of the strategy is to reverse the long-term decline in bus use nationally over the last 20 to 30 years. Government committed to provide £3 billion of new transformation funding nationally to help make this change.

As part of the strategy, government expects all Local Transport Authorities (LTAs) in England, such as ourselves, to play a much bigger role than they do currently in the way bus services operate in their area. Under the existing deregulated model most bus services in England are provided on a commercial basis. This means it is the bus companies themselves who decide the route of the service, the timetable, fares and types of vehicle used, based on what they think makes the best commercial sense for them.

It is only when bus companies feel there is not a commercial case to operate a route in a particular area, or time of day, that LTAs can become involved by specifying and funding additional services to fill the gaps. Prior to the COVID-19 pandemic, approximately 80% of bus passenger journeys in Derbyshire were made on commercially operated services, with the remaining 20% of journeys taken on routes directly funded by us. The strategy expects all LTAs in England to replace this deregulated model in their area with one of 2 options: franchising or enhanced partnership.


Under a franchise model, LTAs decide all the bus services that should be provided in their area, with bus operators bidding for the right to run them on a contractual basis.

As a result, there would be no specifically commercial network. Although the franchising model gives LTAs full control of where and when buses operate, and the fares charged, it also means the LTA is required to meet the overall cost of providing all the services in their area that are not met by passenger fares and other income.

Under current legislation, only mayoral combined authorities have an automatic right to use franchising powers, and to date only London uses this system. However, there are plans to introduce franchising to Greater Manchester in the near future.

Enhanced partnerships

Enhanced partnerships (EPs) are a new type of arrangement between LTAs and bus operators. The purpose of the EP is to create a formal, collaborative agreement between LTAs and bus operators to make bus improvements in an area. As part of an EP, the LTA and operators can set service standards, including the frequency of buses along specific routes, the type of vehicle to be used and the availability of ticket products and payment methods.

Enhanced partnerships also allow for integration between different types of public transport with more joint ticketing arrangements and better timetabling to allow interchange. An EP would therefore bring many of the benefits of a franchise in terms of providing a more joined up bus network but the operation of the commercial services would still remain with the bus companies.

At our Cabinet meeting on the 17 June 2021 it was agreed that Derbyshire would enter into an EP arrangement with all of the bus operators who provide services in our area.

Bus service improvement plan

As part of the National Bus Strategy LTAs were also required to publish a bus service improvement plan (BSIP) by the end of October 2021. A BSIP sets out a high level vision for bus services in an area such as Derbyshire, the important actions needed to provide it, and how these will achieve the goal of increasing bus patronage.

Since June we have been working with a variety of stakeholders to develop our BSIP including:

  • bus companies who provide services in Derbyshire
  • community transport operators
  • bus passenger user groups
  • borough and district councils across Derbyshire and the Peak District National Park Authority
  • special interest groups including the local access forum

During July and August we also undertook a survey asking members of the public and other stakeholders what improvements they would like to see to bus services in Derbyshire which attracted over 2,000 responses.

We have now published our BSIP which sets out our ambitious proposals for improving bus services in Derbyshire including:

  • measures to improve bus service reliability and journey times
  • improvements to bus service information including an increase in the number of roadside electronic Real Time Information signs at bus stops
  • measures to improve integration between different bus services and between bus and rail including the development of transport hubs at important locations to help bring services together
  • the introduction of new ticketing arrangements to make bus travel more affordable
  • better roadside shelters and stops
  • improvements in the frequency and hours of operation of important bus services
  • an expansion in the number of areas where Demand Responsive Transport services are available
  • the introduction of more environmentally friendly buses

Our BSIP is available to read.

For further information, please email: or write to:

Public Transport Unit
Derbyshire County Council
County Hall

The National Bus Strategy document is also available.

Formal process to introduce an enhanced partnership

At our Cabinet meeting on 17 June 2021 (item 6(j)) we agreed to enter into an enhanced partnership arrangement with all the bus operators who provide local bus services in Derbyshire and other relevant stakeholders.

As part of this process we have to issue a notice of intent to enter into this arrangement. This notice also appeared in the following publications:

  • Ashbourne News Telegraph
  • Burton Mail
  • Buxton Advertiser
  • Derby Evening Telegraph
  • Derbyshire Times
  • Glossop Chronicle
  • Leek Post and Times
  • Macclesfield Express
  • Mansfield Chad
  • Matlock Mercury
  • Nottingham Evening Post
  • Sheffield Star
  • Worksop Guardian

Notice of intent to prepare an enhanced partnership plan and schemes 21 June 2021

At its meeting on 17 June 2021, our cabinet gave approval to proceed with the development of an enhanced partnership. The commencement of this is confirmed through this notice of the intention to prepare an enhanced partnership plan and accompanying enhanced partnership schemes, as required and set out in section138F of the Transport Act 2000.

Enhanced partnership plan and scheme

Following the successful submission of the bus service improvement plan (BSIP) to the Department for Transport, we're commencing the process to create an enhanced partnership. This means we will work more closely with local bus operators to improve services.

There are 2 elements of the enhanced partnership which must now be agreed and consulted upon:

  • the enhanced partnership plan - sets out a summarised version of the BSIP, providing the context for the proposed local bus service improvements
  • the enhanced partnership scheme - sets out in more detail how the plan objectives will be achieved through an agreed set of actions

Read the full draft of the enhanced partnership plan.

Together the plan and scheme will form the legally binding agreement between ourselves and local bus operators. The provision of our BSIP proposals are subject to the required funding being made available by the Department for Transport.

All qualifying local bus service operators have the right to object to the plan and / or the scheme being proposed. These objections must be made during the objection period that will run from 23 December 2021 until and including 21 January 2022.

Where individual operators decide to object, they should provide their justification for doing so and make their objection in writing by post and email or write to:

Public Transport Unit
Derbyshire County Council
County Hall

Should no formal operator objections be received we will move to the next stage in the process - a consultation with statutory stakeholders. If following a successful consultation, the plan and the scheme will then be ‘made’ and will take effect from 1 April 2022.

Department for Transport Bus Service Operators Grant 2021 to 2022 - annual report

The Bus Service Operators Grant is a grant paid to operators of eligible bus services and community transport organisations to help them recover some of their fuel costs. The amount each bus operator receives is based on their annual fuel consumption. Bus Service Operators Grant also aims to benefit passengers by:

  • helping operators keep fares down
  • enabling operators to run services that might otherwise be unprofitable and could lead to cancellation

Bus Service Operator Grant spend

Maintaining current tendered services: £896,586 (excluding funding by the COVID bus service support grant and any other funding provided through the local authority)

There were no specific requirements on operators as a condition of payment (for example, setting a minimum standard of emissions requirement which needed to be met).

In addition to the Bus Service Operators Grant, we spent other financial resources on supporting bus services. This did not include funding from COVID Bus Service Support Grant.

How money over and above Bus Service Operators Grant and / or COVID Bus Service Support Grant was spent

  • maintaining current tendered services: £4,680,125
  • investing in alternative services (for example, community transport, taxi buses): £510,789
  • bus stops and / or shelters and real time journey information: £458,909.83
  • other: £40,000 - Wheels to Work scheme
  • total: £6,586,409.83

All of our allocated Bus Service Operators Grant for 2021 to 2022 was spent.