Back Bus Franchising

We are campaigning for a franchised model for the West of England, to replace the current unreliable services that are failing the people of Bristol.

A franchised model (most notably in place in London), is where the local authority specifies the bus services to be provided, determining the routes, timetables and fares, rather than bus companies doing so. Services are then operated under contract by private companies through a  competitive tendering process. This would increase competition in Bristol's bus system as well as making the private companies accountable for the service they provide.Franchising also affords control over the type of vehicles being operated, supporting the roll-out of battery and/or hydrogen-powered fleets, which will improve local air quality.Manchester has begun rolling out its own franchised bus system, and London has had its since 1986. Isn’t it time Bristol got the reliable, accountable bus system it deserves?


Transport in Bristol is in chaos. Car usage has been on the rise for years, resulting in greater congestion and pollution. In the face of this, our city desperately needs improved public transport.However, our current system relies on private companies running bus routes with very little oversight from the council. Private firms can change routes, amend timetables or even scrap services with short notice and without consultation with the council or residents. This allows large bus companies to focus on making huge profits without a care for the local communities that rely on their services. This is not good enough and we must demand better. The Bus Services Act 2017 devolved powers to regional mayors to establish bus franchising schemes. Under such a scheme, the authority can decide the routes and timetables that the city needs, then the bus companies have to bid to run them. This is already how things work in London and now Manchester and would allow us to take back control of our public transport for the good of the whole city.

Back Bus Franchising

We the undersigned call on Mayor Marvin Rees, Regional Mayor Dan Norris, Bristol City Council and the West of England Combined Authority to work towards a bus franchising scheme for Bristol.

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