* 17 September 2022 - Electric Bus Demo - Melksham
* September 2022 is "Catch the Bus" month.
Recording the passing of Peter Blackburn, our Chair, in July 2022
Peter has been a rock for decades and is enormously missed. Read More
* 4 April 2022 - BSIP - no award to Wiltshire
* 24 Feb 2022 - draft Wiltshire Enhanced Partnership and comment
* Jan 2022 - short term timetable changes
* 15 Dec 2021 - Slides for Cross-border meeting
* 29 Oct 2021 - 'Final' Bus Service Improvement Plan
* 11 Oct 2021 - BSIP as submitted and supporting documents
* 7 Sep 2021 - Draft BSIP, current year, Option 24/7 master organisation
* See http://old.option247.uk for the old (2016) campaign site
Options 24/7 - Bus Back Better for Wiltshire - Frequently Asked Questions
What's the background?
* The bus system in the UK has major issues that need addressing for the future
* In many places it had become a skeleton service, only used if there were no alternatives and in too many places lost completely or providing no service
* Covid has made the whole bus network uneconomic and it is under government support
* Carbon Zero needs a much stronger / cleaner / better mass travel / public transport network
What's happening now?
* The Government (on 15th March 2021) announced "Bus Back Better" (BBB) which has made their future funding (of £3 billion) and support of Local Transport Authorities (LTAs) dependent on the LTA following their direction.
* Bus Back Better calls for Bus Service Improvement Plans (BSIPs) and their implementation
* BSIPs are to be drawn up by LTAs, Operators and the Communities to be served in the area served, with the communities having a significant role. Due by the end of October 2021 to be implemented April 2022 and revised every six months thereafter
* There are many experts in regulation (LTAs and their governance), operation (drivers, managers, maintenance staff) and bus and infrastucture provision (designers and regulation)
So where does community input come from?
* There are no bodies / root and branch organsiations in place with linked expertise and mandated with correlating practical advice and inputs.
* In Wiltshire, the Option 24/7 team brought together community skills and gained knowedge of how service could be improved in the very different background of 2016, when major cuts were being proposed. The outcome was only minor cuts. The Option 24/7 team is still together.
* Elements of BBB call for exactly what Option 24/7 was suggesting in 2016; "we could have written that" said one of our team, although really it's just common sense.
* Option 24/7 worked / works well with our LTA team and has an understanding and experience of practical public transport issues, good relations with partners.
* In the absence of alternatives, the Option 24/7 team offers itself as a/the vehicle, with partners, to take BSIPs forward and beyond the plans to work with LTAs and operators to market and help ensure that services really work for everyone for the decade ahead
How will this work?
* Option 24/7 starts as a thin team of unfunded volunteers. We are looking (in the purdah period to 6th May) at structure and updating our presence and long(er) term funding and resources.
* We will provide tools, suggestions, sanity checks, co-ordination across all 18 community areas.
* We are already working with groups in some neighbouring authorities and will continue to do so. This is because the methodlogy is common across England, and can be usefully shared; we are not competitive. It is also because many services run across county / LTA borders and the future must include the inter-LTA services.
* Signups / formal registation of interest from 10th May (more formalised than we have started with so far)
The work so far
* Presentations of 29.3.2021 and 19.4.2021 (which look at much of the above in more detail)
* Expressions of interest and some real thought from dozens of people, across 6 of the community areas
* Informal discussions to help us understand what our LTA view might be, leading to initial thoughts and more detailed case work on a test area.
* Seed funding (a few hundred pounds) identified for initial survey publicity
* The setup for the above / web site work / planning and admin.
* Listening to people!
What can I do?
* Read in
* Get in touch to offer your help