Who Provides Buses
Bus services in Bedford Borough are run by
independent commercial companies, many of which are based locally.
Some of these companies are part of larger national operating
Under current legislation, bus services can be
operated commercially by any licensed bus operator. This means that
bus companies are free to decide how to run any service they choose
to operate. This includes the route the service takes, which bus
stops are used, the timetable of the service and the fares
In order to run a new service or to alter or
cancel an existing service, a bus company is only required to give
56 days notice to the Traffic Commissioners, although this notice
period can be waived in exceptional circumstances.
The commercially operated routes do not cover
all of the needs of bus users, particularly in rural areas, lightly
used routes and evening and weekend journeys. In these situations,
the Borough Council can step in and either directly contract a
service from an operator or pay for additional journeys or
additional pickups on an existing route.
Unfortunately, it is not possible for the
Borough Council to provide a service for every journey an
individual may wish to make. Instead, it aims to provide journeys
to meet the needs of as many passengers as possible within the
resources available to it.
In the last decade, the commercial bus network
in North Bedfordshire has reduced and the number of services paid
for by the Local Authority has grown. This means that whereas 80%
of services used to be run commercially and 20% run with support
from the Local Authority a decade ago, now just over 70% of
services are run commercially with nearly 30% supported by the