Transport North East

Enhanced Partnership

On 15 March 2021, ‘Bus Back Better: The National Bus Strategy’ was published by the Department for Transport. The strategy sets out the Government’s vision for bus services outside of London, with cheaper and simpler fares, quicker and more reliable journeys and improvements to timetables all promised. £3 billion has been allocated by Government to help drive these outcomes.

The North East Joint Transport Committee has given approval to proceed with preparing an EP Plan and Schemes with local bus operators, NEbus, and the project is ongoing.

An EP is where local transport authorities and bus operators agree a detailed partnership plan (a Bus Service Improvement Plan) that is refined through consultation. A series of partnership schemes are built into the final agreed EP plan.

An enhanced bus network is key to achieving our aim of creating a green, healthy, dynamic and thriving North East. Buses are integral to achieving economic growth. Our vision will help people make greener and healthier travel choices, creating a network that can take everyone where they need to go for work, education, healthcare, shopping or other leisure activities at a price they can afford.

Notice of making the North East Enhanced Partnership Plan and Scheme

At its meeting on the 21 March 2023, the North East Joint Transport Committee gave approval to the making of the region’s Enhanced Partnership. Operators of qualifying local services were notified that the draft EP Plan and EP Scheme had been prepared on 9 December 2022. 

The operators’ objection period ended on 10 January 2023 and no objections to the draft EP Plan and EP Scheme were received. Statutory consultation ran from 11 January to 8 February 2023, and following this, the EP Plan and EP Scheme have been made without modification. The first meeting of the North East Regional Bus Partnership Board was held on the 30 March 2023 and the EP Plan and the EP Scheme will come into effect from the 2 April 2023.

View the Notice on the Enhanced Partnership Plan and Scheme

View the Enhanced Partnership Plan

View the Enhanced Partnership Scheme

For further information, please contact

Buses and cars in gridlock on a main road in the North East.

Bus Service Improvement Plan

The region’s first Bus Service Improvement Plan (BSIP) has unveiled a new £804 million bid to Government which transport leaders are confident will dramatically transform bus services across the North East. 

The BSIP outlines region-wide ambitions to make buses more attractive by making them an affordable and practical alternative to using private cars for more people and helping existing bus users to travel more frequently. The ambitious plan aims to return bus ridership – currently 25% lower than before the pandemic – to pre-Covid levels by the end of the next financial year and to grow by 10% each year thereafter.  This would provide a major economic boost to the region, reduce road congestion, and contribute towards climate change targets.

The numerous measures proposed include improvements to timetables and fares, extensive priority measures on roads and at junctions to speed buses up – including two new Park & Ride sites, new and attractive waiting facilities, a set of affordable fare “caps” that work across all buses and Metro services, lower fares for many young people and simplified and improved information.

The North East BSIP is the region’s response to the Government’s National Bus Strategy for England which was published in March 2021. 

The North East BSIP was approved by the North East Joint Transport Committee on 26 October 2021 and refreshed in November 2022. 

Read the North East Bus Service Improvement Plan

Supporting documents

North East Transport Plan

Big Bus Conversation report

Your Vision for Buses

Connected North East: Our Blueprint

The Coronavirus Bus Service Support Grant

The Coronavirus Bus Service Support Grant (CBSSG), which was provided by the Department for Transport (DfT) between 2020-2021, helped to support tendered bus services in the region at the height of the Covid-19 pandemic.

We have published a list of the bus services supported (including the financial contribution and kilometres operated) here, in accordance with the Department for Transport and the CBSSG Memorandum of Understanding.