Quality partnership scheme

A Quality Partnership Scheme is a contractual agreement between public transport operators, transport authorities and local councils that will set down not only quality benchmarks and timetables that operators must adhere to, but also spells out what the public bodies will provide in the form of infrastructure management. However it is mostly linked to a deregulated market.

The quality partnership scheme model was introduced in the UK by the 2000 Transport Act. Under such a scheme a local transport authority (or two or more LTAs jointly) agrees to invest in improved facilities at specific locations along bus routes (e.g. bus stops or bus lanes) and operators who wish to use those facilities undertake to provide services of a particular  standard (e.g. new buses, or driver training standards).

Only those operators prepared to provide services to the standards specified in the scheme are permitted to use the facilities. Whilst other operators are not generally prevented from providing local services in the area covered by the scheme, they cannot use the facilities provided by the LTA under it.

Typically, at transport interchanges several public transport routes come together, hence requiring contractual agreements between stakeholders such as the quality partnership scheme.

NODES strategic objectiveContribution
Enhance accessibility and integration +
Enhance intermodality ++
Enhance liveability +
Increase safety and security conditions +
Increase economic viability and costs efficiency +
Stimulate local economy 0
Increase environmental efficiency 0
Increase energy efficiency 0

Potential interchange performance improvement

A QPS can bring authorities and transport operators together in a formal partnership to deliver improved standards and a commitment to maintain quality infrastructure to address the needs of passengers in a reliable, accessible, sustainable and cost-effective manner.

The potential local benefits to passengers of a QPS are:

  • Stability of services within the scheme area;
  • Improving security and cleanliness;
  • Reduced differential between journey times and improvements to reliability and punctuality

The benefits for operators are:

  • To ensure, as far as possible, the delivery of effective priority for public transport modes in and around the interchange and other measures required to enable services to be operated punctually, reliably and efficiently
  • To offer some degree of protection of an operator’s investment, where guaranteed provision of PT infrastructure by a local transport authority is matched by a high level of investment in service quality;

The benefits for local transport authorities are:

  • All operators using the facilities must meet the relevant standard of service specified in the scheme

A local transport authority may wish to lever a higher quality of service from operators than it can obtain through a voluntary agreement.



Transport for Greater Manchester. http://www.tfgm.com/buses/qps/Pages/default.aspx