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Improving bus travel in Torbay

We are working with operators to look at developing an Enhanced Bus Partnership and will be producing a Bus Service Improvement Plan.

National Bus Strategy

Buses are the country’s favourite mode of public transport – used for twice as many journeys as trains, from thousands more stopping places across the country. They get teenagers to college. They drive pensioners to see their friends. They connect people to jobs they couldn’t otherwise take. They sustain town centres, they strengthen communities and they protect the environment. They are lifelines and they are liberators.

The National Bus Strategy sets out an ambitious vision to dramatically improve bus services in England outside London through greater local leadership, to reverse the recent shift in journeys away from public transport and encourage passengers back to bus.

Bus Partnership

To enable effective, joined up, delivery of improvements to the bus network across Torbay we need to have a partnership in place. The partnership was agreed on 31 March 2023.

Following the adoption of the Torbay Bus Service Improvement Plan (BSIP) we have now created an Enhanced Partnership (EP) which will include a Plan (The Plan) and Scheme (The Scheme) to provide a robust framework in which to deliver the BSIP in accordance with requirements set out by the DfT and in line with the Transport Act 2000 and any subsequent amendments.

The delivery of proposals set out in the BSIP is subject to the required funding being made available by the DfT and other sources.

The Plan and The Scheme are below:


Torbay Bus Enhanced Partnership Board (EPB)

Minutes of the Torbay Bus Enhanced Partnership Board (EPB) meetings are provided below

Bus Service Improvement Plan

We have developed a Bus Service Improvement Plan (BSIP) for Torbay, taking into account the supporting evidence, other policy documents, latest national strategies and stakeholder input.

The cabinet report can be found here

We are currently updating the plan to reference changes to data and make some other minor amendments. Our ambitions for buses in Torbay remain the same. We are currently working on stabilising the network, and getting it to a reliable position. We are working with operators to help us with this and will then deliver the ambitions where funding allows.

The targets and reporting data in the future will be included here.

Supporting Work

Demand Responsive Transport

We commissioned consultants WSP to assess the feasibility of procuring Demand Responsive Transport (DRT) services as a potential replacement for existing local bus services. The study,

which can be accessed via the link below, concludes that there is potential for DRT in Torbay in a limited number of areas and scenarios.

Needs Assessment

Following the DRT work, we commissioned WSP to also look at a needs assessment for Torbay.

This highlighted the areas with the most (and least) potential to use bus services, but also looked at alternative travel options such as taxi and DRT. The study also considered the impact of loss of services and how accessible key areas such as town centres and Torbay Hospital are. Some information in the report is commercially sensitive but a summary will be included here when available.

Zero Emission Buses

With Stagecoach’s support, we submitted an Expression of Interest to the government’s Zero Emission Bus Regional Area (ZEBRA) scheme to purchase a number of electric buses. A summary of the bid is provided below.

The bid was not successful but we will take the feedback and look at alternative options for delivery. We will carry out a study into the opportunities and readiness of the infrastructure to support zero emission buses and to look at what is needed to develop a zero emission network across Torbay.

We continue to hold the ambition as a Council to support the transport network in Torbay to become carbon neutral.