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Enhanced partnerships for buses

We have prepared a bus service improvement plan and entered into  an enhanced partnership with local bus operators. This is in support of the Government's National Bus Strategy for England, Bus back better.

Bus service improvement plans

We have published our bus service improvement plans which outline plans for improving bus services. An updated plan will be published in June 2024.

Enhanced Partnership plan and scheme

Following the preparation of our bus service improvement plan, we have:

  • issued Notice of our intention to Make an Enhanced Partnership on 8 June 2021
  • prepared an Enhanced Partnership Plan and Enhanced Partnership Scheme in accordance with the Transport Act 2000 as amended by the Bus Service Act 2017
  • consulted on these documents in line with the two stage consultation process set out in Section 138F of the Transport Act 2000 and guidance issued by the Department for Transport

The consultation responses are set out below.


West Northamptonshire Council hereby give Notice under Section 138G(5) of the Transport Act 2000 (as amended), that the Enhanced Partnership has been Made on 12 April 2022 and comes into effect from 30 April 2022.  

The Enhanced Partnership has been prepared in accordance with Section 138F of the Transport Act 2000, and has been consulted accordingly.  It is Made without modifications, following public consultation.  

The Enhanced Partnership Plan and Scheme can be viewed below and apply to all bus operators operating within West Northamptonshire Council’s administrative area, unless specifically exempt under the terms of the Enhanced Partnership Scheme.

Subsidised bus services

Many of the comments in the consultation on the Bus Service Improvement plan priorities in September and October 2021 related to the need to restore bus services to communities who have lost them. 

This does not form part of the Enhanced Partnership plan or scheme. It is likely that such supported services would be secured through contracts with bus operators, rather than through the Enhanced Partnership.

As part of the budget setting process for 2022/23, we have introduced a new budget for supporting bus services, which may help with restoring such services. We have also been allocated additional government grant in 2023/24 and 24/25 to support local bus services. 

Decisions on how this is spent will be guided by our interim bus policy we adopted in 2024, our Bus Service Improvement Plan and the Enhanced Partnership.

ZEBRA 2 (Zero Emission Bus Fund)

In Mach 2023 it was announced that the council would receive £9.4m from the Department for Transport’s Zero Emission Bus Regional Areas 2 (ZEBRA 2) programme. 

Alongside investment from Stagecoach this £28m project will deploy 51 battery electric buses on the Northampton network. The buses are expected to enter service in 2026. 

If you wish to view our application please email [email protected] and request a copy.

What happens next

Further information will be published here as the implementation of the Enhanced Partnership and other initiatives to improve bus services progress.

Last updated 25 March 2024