Types of bus service
Certain bus services are run commercially by bus operators without financial support from local or national government. We have no powers to influence the routing, timetables, frequencies or day to day operational quality of these services.
Current national legislation places a duty on us to plan and administer bus services which cannot be run at a profit by bus operators. However, there is local discretion as to the level of service provided and this must be achieved within the funding available. These services are provided under contract to us by various bus operators. We do not run services ourselves, own the buses or employ the drivers. Services therefore must be sustainable, benefit as many people as possible and offer reasonable value for money for the public purse, when the cost of providing them is equated with patronage they actually receive.
Our expenditure on bus service support is currently in excess of £7m each year. There are approximately 220 bus services in the county, of which approximately 185 receive a degree of financial support from us. Without this support, many towns, villages and schools would have no bus service. Contracted or supported services are generally identified as such on the individual service timetables.
London Buses services
In the northern part of Surrey, there are several cross-boundary services running from/to parts of Greater London which are provided by London Buses on behalf of Transport for London. We are not responsible for the operation of these but we do contribute significantly to the cost of running some of them.
Patronage of bus services
The number of Passenger Journeys made in Surrey is more than 27 million, of which 8 million are on services which we financially support.
We have no control over fares charged on commercial services or those operated by London Buses. On most contracted services, fares are set by the operator at a level they feel is commercially-justifiable. Fares have to be within a maximum fare scale depending on the length of journey, as laid down by us. The issue and acceptance of multi-journey or multi-operator tickets is at the discretion of the operator. In the case of most of our contracted services, the bus operator retains the fare money collected.
Low-floor accessible vehicles
In general, local bus services are operated with low-floor fully-accessible buses, making travel easier for people in wheelchairs, those with approved mobility scooters, those with buggies, people with mobility impairments and those carrying heavy shopping.
The only exception to this is a very small number of infrequent services which are operated by small vehicles, for which advance contact should be made with the operator before travelling with a wheelchair, to allow arrangements to be made. These are identified as “not fully-accessible” in the list of services shown under the area timetable pages on this website. However, some small non-low floor buses may have wheelchair loading facilities by means of a lift. These services are identified as “wheelchair-accessible vehicle”, for which advance contact should not be necessary prior to travel.
Surrey County Council itself does not operate any services and cannot accept liability for difficulties or inconvenience caused by vehicle accessibility.
Helping Hand Scheme
The Helping Hand Scheme is designed to give customers a helping hand when using bus services; a simple way to help drivers help you.
The credit card sized information card holds a brief written instruction for the driver that can be shown upon boarding the bus. The driver is made aware of the customer's needs or requirements quickly, directly and discreetly without the customer having to verbally communicate it.
The scheme can be very helpful for hidden disabilities and many customers are now using the card off the bus; in taxis, shops and leisure establishments like the cinema.
The Helping Hand Scheme is administered by Brighton & Hove Buses and Metrobus in partnership with: Southdown PSV, Compass Travel, Stagecoach, Big Lemon, Dementia Friendly Crawley, West Sussex County Council, Surrey County Council, East Sussex County Council, Brighton & Hove City Council, Streamline Taxis and City Cabs Brighton. For more information and how to join please visit the Metrobus website.
Local bus tender results
Each year the County Council publishes the results of Local Bus contracts that were put out to tender or changed the previous year.
Below you will find a list of the most recent tender results.
Files available to download
- Changes to Local Bus Contracts - September 2017 (183.7 KB)
Local bus contract results 2017
- Helping Hand leaflet (129.7 KB)
Helping Hand leaflet
- Changes to Local Bus Contracts - September 2016 (141.2 KB)
Local bus contract results 2016
- Changes to Local Bus Contracts - September 2015 (63.2 KB)
Local bus contract results 2015
- Changes to local bus service contracts - September 2014 (118.2 KB)
Local bus contract results 2014
- Changes to local bus service contracts - September 2013 (129.4 KB)
Local bus contract results 2013