News story

Senior Traffic Commissioner publishes revised guidance on local bus services

Statutory document confirms standards for operating punctual and reliable services in England (outside London) and Wales.

Rural bus service

The Senior Traffic Commissioner for Great Britain, Beverley Bell, has today (26 March 2015) published revised guidance for bus operators running local services in England (outside London) and Wales.

The document confirms that punctuality and reliability standards will remain unchanged from the existing window of tolerance – where a bus can be up to 1 minute early and 5 minutes late.

A punctuality target of 95% – within the window of tolerance – will also continue to be the standard for registered services.

The guidance offers examples of good practice for bus operators on:

  • service registration
  • service monitoring
  • systems and resources

The publication of ‘Statutory document number 14’ follows 2 consultations on revising the existing ‘Practice direction’ for local bus services.

Beverley Bell said:

I’d like to thank bus operators, passengers and other stakeholders for their valuable and thoughtful contributions to both consultations and their patience while I have examined those views carefully.

This is a very important piece of work for commissioners and the bus industry. Buses that are punctual and reliable serve the interests of both passengers and the bus operators running those services.

As regulators, it is important that we set realistic, achievable targets for local services, while at the same time providing a robust framework for regulatory action if operators fail to achieve the expected standards.

I encourage bus operators to examine the document and share it across their businesses, including the examples of what a good operation looks like.

The Traffic Commissioner for Scotland, Miss Joan Aitken, has confirmed the existing window of tolerance and standards will continue to apply for operators running registered services in Scotland. Following the publication of the Senior Traffic Commissioner’s Statutory Document for England and Wales, Miss Aitken will work with stakeholders in Scotland and plans to release a statement in the autumn.

Damien Currie

Damien Currie
Media Officer for the Senior Traffic Commissioner

Published 26 March 2015