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Being a good bus operator

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Bus driving over rural bridge

Earlier this year, the Senior Traffic Commissioner published revised guidance for operators of local bus services in England (outside London) and Wales. If you’ve seen the document already, you’ll know the punctuality and reliability standards haven’t changed.

If you operate local services, the window of tolerance still requires bus services to depart from timing points up to 1 minute early and 5 minutes late. The punctuality target is also the same – 95% of your registered services need to operate within this window of tolerance.

Good practice

As regulators, Traffic Commissioners want to provide clear advice to help the industry with compliance. To assist with this, the revised guidance now has a section on what a good bus operation looks like. You can use this as a checklist to measure your standards and review your operations. It covers what Commissioners expect in terms of:

  • Registering your local bus services
  • Monitoring your services
  • Your systems and resources

Traffic Commissioners also use this guidance when dealing with operators at public inquiry to check they’re meeting the standards a compliant bus operator would demonstrate. Additionally, the guidance has a section for local authorities on what activities can ensure a good bus operation.

The Senior Traffic Commissioner has been encouraging operators to share the guidance across their businesses, including the examples of what a good operation looks like.

The guidance published by the Senior Traffic Commissioner relates to bus operations in England (outside London) and Wales. The Traffic Commissioner for Scotland has confirmed that the existing window of tolerance and standards will continue to apply for operators running registered services in Scotland.


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