On Trains & Buses

Travel news, views & information from Europe & North America by an independent public transport user

Helpful Councils

Reading time: 12 minutes.

When it comes to the provision, some local authorities are better than others. Quite a number do get to providing a list of bus timetables while others merely tell you to take a hike over to Traveline. My preference is not to go criticising folk all the time so here’s a list of those who put in the effort. Sometimes, you can get the wrong end of the stick because the information is hidden, so I’ll extract it from the back shelves where that appears to be where it has gone on them. This list will be a living one with new entries added as I go along so don’t let small beginnings make you think that councils are generally unhelpful to the public transport user; most support services that otherwise would be commercially non-viable.

Arriva Bus in Bollington

This is the part of Scotland that you’ll find immediately north of Dundee. With visitor attractions such as Arbroath located there, it’s just as well that the local council does its bit to help folk get about without a car. Bus timetables and other information of the same ilk are there as one would expect.

Argyll & Bute

Just because areas are hilly and mountainous or that there are far-flung islands doesn’t mean that there isn’t a useful public transport service for getting about (the name of this part of the council website as it happens). There are timetables to be found for next to every means of travel imaginable with ferry and air services complementing the more usual fare of bus and train information.

Bedford Borough

A while back, Bedfordshire County Council was replaced by Bedford Borough, Central Bedfordshire and Luton unitary councils. Of these, only the first is sticking with having bus timetable information, so that stays in this listing; the rest have been removed, as happens from time to time.

Cheshire East

The now-defunct Cheshire County Council didn’t do so badly when it came to travel information provision, and it’s good to see that it is being carried on with listings of bus timetables complimenting that on train travel and other modes. It’s also where you find your way to the real-time bus tracker, limited to services between Macclesfield and destinations like Knutsford and Manchester for now but still useful nonetheless.


Before this local authority came into existence, the Lake District was spread over parts of no less than three different counties. Now that it is included in one along with some Pennine hill country and coastal areas, the local council would need to do what it can to reduce the number of visitors bringing their cars to the honeypot. To be honest, it doesn’t look as if they are having a great deal of success but the more extensive service in the heart of the National Park do their bit when it comes to moving folk about. Satisfyingly, bus timetable provision is what you’d hope it to be, and they make it easier to get information on lake ferry services along with providing something on rail travel too.


This is a part of Wales that I suspect is passed by many on their way to the more well-known destinations in that part of the principality. However, it does have its own merits too and the council does its bit when it comes to informing the public about public transport. Like so many of their counterparts, bus timetables are shared here too. Perhaps strangely, there’s no mention of trains, but I suppose that you’d find out about those elsewhere anyway. The Clwydian Ranger bus service information dates from last year at the time of writing and I do wonder if funding will allow it to reappear for the current year.


A few years back, this local authority took an enlightened view and had a separate website offering travel information. Sadly, that no longer is the case, and you are left having to work a little harder than before. Nevertheless, there is a satellite website with bus timing information that remains more than useful. In a way, it’s a shame that things like these are as easy to find as they were, particularly given that the county plays host to a very popular national park that gets crowded in places every bank holiday weekend, but that can be an outcome of piling more things into an already cluttered structure if you’re not careful.


As well as a section on their main website, Devon County Council also has JourneyDevon for promoting the use of public transport in their area. Like what Powys offer, there is an interactive map where you can click on a route number and see the timetable for that service. Community transport offerings are on there too and that’s important with two areas of wilder countryside within the county area: Dartmoor and Exmoor. Two stretches of coastline allow for the promotion of certain routes for their scenic value and videos show off these. For those unfamiliar with the use of buses and trains, there also are helpful guides on how to do just that. That is never to say that the main website section is redundant since there are links to district timetable guides in e-book form for those wanting a more traditional feel than an interactive map, as good as that is.


This is a website from more than one Dorset local authority since Dorset County Council is but one of these. Otherwise, there is Christchurch Borough Council, East Dorset District Council, North Dorset District Council, Purbeck District Council, West Dorset District Council and Weymouth & Portland Borough Council. While it is admirable for resources to be pooled like this, it would be for nothing if the results of such a collaboration did not deliver for the public and this multi-modal website certainly does that. Live road travel information, a necessity given the stormy winter of 2013/4, is on here along with much-needed public transport information. Bus timetables are available as is any other information that a bus user would need. For rail users, a lot more is offered than just links to the National Rail and train operating company websites. Air travellers find a link to Bournemouth Airport, but that might be enough while Dorset’s coastal travel needs are addressed by the boat travel section. Walking and cycling do not get neglected either, and the information goes beyond mere commuting needs to include recreational opportunities too, an unusual subject for a transport website. In summary, there is a lot on here, so it deserves a visit to survey what is on offer.

Dumfries & Galloway

This is one of the few local authorities that owns its own buses, primarily for school travel provision but also for less frequent socially necessary public bus services. Naturally, timetables for all bus services are available on here along with the sort of other local travel information that we have come to expect of local authority websites.


There may be larger cities than Dundee, but it gets its dedicated travel information website. There may be more than public transport information on here and that makes it a useful port of call for all. Dundee City Council seems to have done a good job with this one though a browsable list of bus timetables would be no bad idea.


Never let the usefulness of a list of timetables be downplayed when it comes to exploring an area and that’s how it has proven with the Gwynedd of the Snowdonia National Park. In addition to the usual sections on day-to-day bus and train travel, there’s a section devoted to the Snowdon Sherpa services for those wanting to get to know those hillier areas while leaving the car after them.


Another one of Cheshire’s unitary authorities and one that didn’t reach my consciousness until recently, it also has a devotion to the provision of public transport information. The area centres around Runcorn and Widnes together with smaller places such as Helsby and Frodsham too. There are bus timetables listed here like so many other council websites, and it is an area that I might go exploring too. After all, the Sandstone Trail starts in Frodsham, so a walking idea came into place.


This county is surprisingly rural given its proximity to London yet is a place where I wouldn’t have thought of going but for business trips within the last few opportunities. That’s not to say that there aren’t countryside walking opportunities for the locals so having buses for getting about would be handy. Usefully, the county council’s dedicated public transport website seems a good port of call for travel information with a library of bus timetables like the others on this page.

In addition, they also are involved in the Network St. Albans initiative for reducing the amount of traffic generated by single-occupancy motor vehicles. Along with the usual mix bus and train travel options, cycling and walking are mentioned along with car-sharing.

Isle of Anglesey

It’s an island through which many pass on their way to and from Irish Sea ferries to Dublin, but it surprised me by having its own (county) council. Very usefully, it does its share when it comes to providing public transport information and there’s a comprehensive list of bus timetables available; there’s even a link to the website of the local airport!


Following a round of savage bus service cuts, there is a partial restoration in progress following a change of council cabinet. The increase in support for bus services is welcome, and they do get a whole independent section of the council website with a timetable listing being part of the offer. Nevertheless, that doesn’t mean that there isn’t a nod towards rail and tram (in Blackpool, that is) services either.


This has been a county that evaded my notice for several reasons but a dedicated bus service website has come to my attention. Both scheduled and demand-responsive services get their place on there along with a news section for service updates too. The county may not be that hilly, but it does have its Wolds and the city of Lincoln is well worth a trip as I found on two visits.


With the Brecon Beacons National Park on its doorstep and the Wye Valley AONB within its boundaries, there is a certain attraction to visiting the southeastern corner of Wales. With that in mind, it’s just as well that the council’s website features a list of bus timetables for those wanting to get about without a car. That the service level isn’t so extensive probably makes any information provision all the more important.

North Yorkshire

This is another area worthy of attention from the outsider and one where the local council does its bit for ensuring that you know how to get around too. Some of the areas served are surrounded by hills, and it may surprise you where services go. The list of bus timetables is split by area, but a useful overview map ensures that you don’t end up scratching your head to work out where the likes of Craven is.


While my two visits to this part of Wales were separated by several years, it is heartening to see that information useful for planning a long-overdue return to the area remains easily accessible. Included among the available bus timetables are those for leisure services that enable the exploration of the spectacular coastline that is to be found down there. Pointers for rail and ferry information are to be found too.

Perth & Kinross

Is it telling that clicking on a link named Public Transport Information takes you to information about trains? Do they feel that an apparent bias towards bus travel would be unfair? I am not going to venture an answer to either of these questions about that one, but a spot of concentration will fish out the bus travel information for you. Saying that, an obvious suggestion would be to have a general landing page for public transport information rather than arriving at the train one like now.

Shetland Islands

They may be Scotland’s, and hence Britain’s, most northerly islands but that is not to say that regular travel services do not operate. Given that these are a set of islands, it should not come as any surprise to find bus running information complemented by that for air and sea services too. The latter pair is necessary for getting from one island to another, let alone connecting them to the rest of the world around them.


It came as a recent surprise to learn that Staffordshire County council has a library of bus timetables. That was enough to get it added on here, and there is information of bus service changes as well as on other forms of transport.

Vale of Glamorgan

It may be overshadowed by nearby Cardiff, but this coastal district is good at supplying public transport information too. The nigh-on obligatory bus timetable directory is on there along with news of any changes. At the time of writing, they are facing the rather inconsiderate withdrawal of Veolia from the British bus market. Hopefully, they’ll work through this upheaval to a better future since Veolia hasn’t been much good at sharing information about their services anyway.

Western Isles (Na hEileanan nan Iar)

Some may find it a surprise to discover that these outliers from the Scottish mainland have their bus services too along with the requisite ferry and air travel links on which any island is so dependent. However, given the size of the grouping (spending a few days getting from top to tail or vice versa is likely), those bus services prove invaluable if you are without a car, and they very handily link in with ferry and air services too.


This may not be what it once was (the list of bus timetables is less extensive, for one thing), but there remains a lot here for this more rural part of the West Midlands. The presence of the Malvern Hills in the county makes it a visitor so any information about public transport around cannot be anything but useful.


It may be a largely urban borough, but it has inviting countryside on its doorstep too. Since I last had a look, the website has had an overhaul with the addition of bold text and colours that give it a very contemporary feel. Strangely, there isn’t a single public transport landing page with bus and train sections jostling for attention with those for school buses, taxi buses and highways maintenance. Mind you, the overall thrust of the part of their website devoted to Transport and Streets is related to public transport anyway, even if finding their useful collection of bus timetables requires a little more clicking than might be ideal.