Medway enhanced partnership with bus operators

Bus service improvements in Medway are at the heart of our enhanced partnership with bus operators.

An enhanced partnership would mean we work closer with local bus operators to improve services.

Early engagement has already taken place with operators to make sure this partnership would improve services for passengers.

Enhanced Partnership Plan and Scheme

This is a notice to confirm that Medway Council has published its Enhanced Partnership Plan and Scheme to take effect from 1 July 2022. This is for the unitary authority administrative area of Medway, as required and set out in section 138F of the Transport Act 2000.

The Enhanced Partnership Plan and Scheme works towards the Medway Bus Service Improvement Plan within the administrative area of Medway Council. This is to deliver better bus services for local people, as set out in the Bus Service Improvement Plan, and it is subject to future Bus Service Improvement Plan funding allocations.

View Enhanced Partnership Plan and Scheme for Medway 2022.

The National Bus Strategy

Bus Back Better was launched in March 2021 by the Department for Transport. It aims to transform bus services across the country ensuring buses are:

  • more frequent
  • more reliable
  • easier to understand
  • easier to use
  • better co-ordinated
  • cheaper.

The partnerships must be delivered by April 2022.

The government also requires local transport authorities to publish a Bus Service Improvement Plan (BSIP).

This plan should detail how they intend to improve bus services.


View our published BSIP updated for 2022.

View our BSIP summary.

This was submitted to the Department for Transport. Unfortunately, Medway Council was unsuccessful in receiving funding. 

Under the Department for Transport guidance, this will be reported on every year.

There are 5 main areas of our BSIP that we hope to improve for users.

1. More frequent and reliable services

Review service frequency

If funding is available, we will increase key routes to operate every 10 minutes during the day and every 30 minutes at other times.

Increase bus priority measures

We aim to:

  • provide bus traffic light priority
  • improve and better enforce parking restrictions.

We also want to examine the scope for physical priority where appropriate. This will take longer than other methods to complete.

Increase demand responsive services

This will be investigated alongside the new rural town on the Hoo Peninsula.

Consideration of bus rapid transport networks

Alongside the housing infrastructure funded development at Hoo, we hope to create a route into central Chatham.

2. Improvements to planning and integration with other modes of transport

Integrate services with other transport modes

We will ensure PlusBus tickets can continue to be used on subsidised services and see whether shorter connection times can be established in the evenings.

Simplify services

Although the key route network is already the basis of simplified services, the Gillingham and Rainham area needs review following recent developments.

Review socially necessary services

Both commercial and socially necessary routes will be reviewed as post coronavirus (COVID-19) levels become clear. We expect some current commercial routes will no longer be needed.

Invest in Superbus networks

Our proposals meet the Superbus criteria in the national bus strategy. The strategy says: "provide higher frequency with lower fare services".

3. Improvements to fares and ticketing

Lower fares

If funding is available, we would seek to reduce maximum fares, initially with an all-operator ticket at single operator prices.

Simplify fares

Most operators have advised they would accept a zonal fare structure to replace individual fare stages (subject to funding).

Integrate ticketing between operators and transport

We hope to get agreement to introduce a localised version of the South East Discovery ticket. This would allow us to allow inter-modal inter-operator ticketing before the technology is developed. This could be in versions both for Medway and for Medway and Kent.

4. Make improvements to bus passenger experience

Invest in improved bus specifications

Add audio-visual next stop announcements to buses, in line with available funding.

Invest in accessible and inclusive bus services

The proposals in this plan to develop and maintain bus services and infrastructure will offer good access to public transport for all members of the community. For example, improvements to bus stops so that buses can stop close and parallel to the kerb which would mean easier access for all passengers.

Protect personal safety of bus passengers

Improve CCTV coverage at Chatham bus station.

Improve buses for tourists

Most of Medway's tourist attractions can be reached easily on the key route network. We will work with tourism colleagues to improve awareness of public transport options.

Invest in decarbonisation

Decarbonisation is a new approach to help improve air quality. We will use this to replace the oldest buses and concentrate on the least polluting technology on routes with long sections in air quality management areas.

5. Improvements to passenger engagement

Passenger charter

We are awaiting further guidance on the passenger charter from the Department for Transport.

Strengthen network identity

This will be considered when inter-operator ticketing is more widely available.

Improve bus information

The format of this will be determined after public consultation.

Get involved

To get in touch about BSIP, please contact us by email:

or by post:

Public Transport Team
Medway Council, White House
Chatham Waterfront Bus Station, Riverside
Globe Lane
ME4 4SL.