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Bus stops and shelters

Bus stops (the pole, flag and timetable cases) are usually owned by either the Borough Council or bus operator. Bus shelters outside of the urban area are not normally owned by the Borough Council and therefore initial enquiries should be directed to the relevant town or parish council. The Borough Council is responsible for bus shelters in Bedford and Kempston, if they have been damaged or require maintenance; please contact the Highways Helpdesk on 01234 718003

Bus stop siting and bus stop works

It is the Borough Council’s policy to support improvements to public transport to provide a better public transport service for local residents. This includes roadside facilities such as convenient and evenly spaced bus stops that are of benefit to all bus users, but especially people who have mobility difficulties and those with young children.

There are just over 1,000 recognised bus stops in the Borough area. Of these over 80% are marked by either a bus stop flag, road marking or bus shelter. The remaining stops consist of 'custom and practice' stops and 'hail and ride' sections. 

Whilst most bus stops have been in place without problem for many years, it is sometimes necessary to change bus stops either due to changes of bus route, road layout or to provide improved facilities for passengers.

Questions and answers

Why has a bus stop been located outside my property?

Sites are chosen after taking into account a number of factors. Road safety is considered along with convenience and safety for bus passengers. These are taken alongside the minimising of the impact on residents outside whose property a proposed bus stop is to be located.

It is of course the case that bus stops have to be placed where people live, because they serve residential areas. In these situations a balance has to be drawn between the different needs of residents. Therefore the Council cannot always find locations that meet the approval of every resident.

You say you have considered traffic issues what does this include?

Road safety assessments are complex and visual. It is therefore difficult to adequately reflect all the factors taken into account. However, the traffic safety issues considered include: volume and type of traffic at all times of the day; speed limit; road width; closeness to traffic signals and road junctions; nature of property frontages; parking; stopping distances and sight lines.

The Council’s Transport Operation Group officers are locally based and the bus operator is familiar with road conditions at all times of the day. Comments are also received from the Traffic Management Unit of Bedfordshire Police. The location is therefore considered on road conditions throughout the day in the proposed bus stop site area not just at the time of the visit.

What gives you the right to put a bus stop here?

As all the work is intended to be carried out within the existing public highway and does not require access onto any adjoining private land, Bedford Borough Council as the highway authority has full legal powers to install bus stops. This can be done without giving prior notification or obtaining any consent. Nevertheless, the Council’s policy is that it is good practice to notify residents immediately adjacent to a proposed or existing bus stop that work is planned and to give an approximate date for commencement.

Why was I not invited to the site meeting or asked for my views?

When siting bus stops it is not practicable to involve residents before a decision is made because it involves walking along sections of roads discussing possible locations as we do not know before this process where the bus stops will be sited. Local councillors are normally invited to represent views of local residents and provide local knowledge of the area.

After a new bus stop site or works to an existing bus stop has been agreed, residents directly affected are notified (those outside whose property the bus stop will be placed) before installation takes place. This allows the opportunity for comment to be made before the bus stop is in place. We do not write to every nearby household.

Why do you need a stop at all? Why not just have a hail and ride service?

Under a ‘hail and ride’ type service there is no identified place for passengers to wait which could be confusing to newer passengers and may be more difficult for some disabled people. There is also the possibility that people waiting may be missed if they don’t signal clearly and they may not be waiting in a safe place. Putting bus stops up is therefore safer given that a traffic safety officer and the police approve these locations.

When service use increases on a hail and ride route the bus may have to stop several times in a short distance to pick up and set down. This has a detrimental affect on bus punctuality and reliability. For these reasons bus stops are preferred on many services.

Passengers will drop litter and I don’t want rubbish on my land.

The Council can attach a bin to the bus stop if this is identified as an issue. Alternatively residents may monitor the situation and if there proves to be a litter problem, request a litter bin.

People waiting at the bus stop may graffiti/damage my property. Are you going to pay for the repairs?

It is most often the case that anticipated problems associated with bus stops do not materialise. However, if problems of anti social behaviour do arise they should be treated as any other incident or damage to property as a criminal matter and reported to the police.

Application for temporary bus stop suspension

You will need to apply for bus stops to be suspended to allow for works to be undertaken by utility companies and private contractors.


A charge will be made by Bedford Borough Council for all bus stop suspensions in its area.

An additional charge will be made to provide bus stops at temporary locations for the duration of the works.

Bus stop suspension: Charged at £130 per day, per stop, up to a maximum of £390 for three days or more.

Provision of temporary bus stops: charged at £64 per stop (for the duration of the works).

(All prices quoted are inclusive of VAT at 20%).

Please do not send any monies with the application form, as we will invoice you at the end of the process.

How do you apply?

Applications should be made at least 10 working days in advance. Applications made with less than 10 working days notice will be subject to a short notice charge of £27 irrespective of whether the application is approved.

Apply online here: Application Form for Temporary Bus Stop Suspension **see also below.

Please complete an application form and send, together with your official order (**below), to:

Public Transport Team
Bedford Borough Council
Borough Hall
MK42 9AP

or email:

**An official purchase order from your company must be enclosed for the process to proceed. In each case the Public Transport team will need to be contacted for a quote and the purchase order must be to this value. Please note that we will invoice you at the end of the process. If applying online you can upload this as part of the application.

**Please do not send any monies prior to this.

Contact us

For general enquiries relating to bus stops or shelters contact the Transport Operations Group.