Bus Service Improvement Plan and Enhanced Partnership

Partnering with local bus operators to deliver better bus services in our area

Bus Service Improvement Plan (BSIP)

First published in October 2021, the Oxfordshire Bus Service Improvement Plan (BSIP) sets out key long-term ambitions for improving our local bus network and how these will be achieved. 

Enhanced Partnership (EP) 

In January 2023, the council and local bus operators entered into a formal Enhanced Partnership (EP) – the legal mechanism for securing improvements to bus services in the county as a result of BSIP.
The Enhanced partnership plan and scheme (pdf format, 1.4Mb) sets out the commitments on all parties towards improving bus services, and how we will enable this by:

  • keeping buses at the heart of decision-making; 
  • making buses faster and more reliable;
  • upgrading bus infrastructure;
  • improving the image of buses; and
  • making buses easier to access and understand.

Bus Service Improvement Projects

Projects being developed by the Enhanced Partnership include (but are not limited to): 

  • Central Oxford traffic filters 
  • Bus priority measures on Cherwell Street, Banbury 
  • Countywide traffic signals upgrades 
  • Countywide real time passenger information improvements 
  • A discounted bus travel product for young people 
  • New countywide bus ticket valid on all services 
  • £1 bus fares on Sundays in December 2023 and 2024 
  • Travel to work/journey planning with employers 
  • Retention of 4 bus services, including those affected by Botley Road closure 
  • New and enhanced bus services including:
    • Newbury – Harwell – Didcot (X34); 
    • Bicester – Brackley (500); 
    • Witney – Carterton – Swindon (64); 
    • Bicester – Kirtlington – Oxford (24); 
    • Didcot – Blewbury – Upton (94/94A); 
    • Cowley – Wheatley (46); 
    • Southmoor – Appleton – Oxford (63); 
    • Oxford – Benson – Wallingford – Reading (X40); 
    • Sonning Common – Reading (25); 
    • Carterton – Oxford (express service) (SX1); 
    • Banbury – Kidlington – Oxford (express service) (X4); 
    • Kidlington – JR Hospital – Churchill Hospital – Thornhill P&R (700);

Other projects from the BSIP are being delivered using alternative funding streams including: 

  • 159 new zero emission buses in Oxford;  
  • improved travel information;  
  • Park & Ride discounted fares; 
  • Mobility Hubs programme; 
  • Eight new rural bus routes; and
  • improved bus stop infrastructure.

Our BSIP progress summary (pdf format, 359 KB)  outlines progress made as at 31 January 2024 including towards headline targets.

Background and funding

In March 2021, the Department for Transport published a new long-term national strategy for buses in England titled Bus Back Better.  This asked local authorities and bus operators to work in partnership to develop ambitious BSIPs to improve bus services in their area. 

Funding from the Department for Transport was made available to support delivery of local bus improvements and Oxfordshire have been successful in securing funds as follows:

  • £12.7m of BSIP Phase 1 funding awarded in April 2022 
  • £1.9m of BSIP Phase 2 funding awarded in May 2023 

This funding, together with funding from Oxfordshire County Council and from the local bus operators, is being used to deliver bus improvements between April 2022 and March 2025 as outlined in the 'Bus Service Improvement Projects’ section above.