Passenger Transport

Visit Bedfordshire's countryside without the stresses of driving and parking. Let'sGo! provides all the information you will need to reach your chosen destination by public transport.
If any part of a route or site is within about a mile of a public transport connection, there will be information within its "Route & Access" page. We have also provided links to public transport websites that are currently available. As these services develop, we hope that it will become possible to provide links from routes or sites to specific services.

Trains

Bedfordshire has stations on three main lines - East Coast, Midland and West Coast - and one branch line - Marston Vale which links the Midland Main Line at Bedford with the West Coast Main Line at Bletchley where passengers can change for the short journeys to Milton Keynes Central and Leighton Buzzard.
There are a number of operators as shown below. They run trains to London, Sussex, the Midlands, the North of England, North Wales and Scotland. In general, you do not need to book in advance for local journeys and the easiest way to get information on rail services is through National Rail Enquiries call 08457 48 49 50 or visit or www.nationalrail.co.uk.

Rail Operators

Thameslink – services from Sussex (Brighton, Gatwick,), Surrey, South and Central London (Blackfriars, City Thameslink, Farrington and St Pancras International)
Stations at: St. Albans, Harpenden (Herts), Luton Airport Parkway, Luton, Leagrave, Harlington, Flitwick & Bedford
https://www.thameslinkrailway.com
Tel. 0345 026 4700
The Bedford to St Albans City section of the route is overseen by the Bedford to St Albans City Community Rail Partnership, one of a growing number of Community Rail Partnerships across the country. The Partnership is led by Bedfordshire Rural Communities Charity, and brings together the local community, local authorities, parish councils, businesses, visitor attractions and the railway industry.

The Partnership works to engage the local community and help people get the most from their railway, promoting social inclusion and sustainable travel, working alongside Thameslink to bring about improvements.

A number of volunteering opportunities are available including Station Friends groups, administration & events support.

For further information visit https://bedsrcc.org.uk/community-transport/bedford-stalbans-crp
e-mail andyb@bedsrcc.org.uk or call 07903 186487.

East Midlands Railway – services from London St Pancras International, the East Midlands and Yorkshire
Stations at Luton Airport Parkway, Luton & Bedford
https://www.eastmidlandsrailway.co.uk
Tel. 0345 712 5678

London North Eastern Railway (LNER) - services from London King's Cross, Yorkshire, North East England and Scotland
Stations at Hitchin (Herts)
https://www.lner.co.uk
Tel: 0345 722 5333

London Northwestern Railway – services from London Euston, the West Midlands and Liverpool Lime Street
Stations at Leighton Buzzard, Bletchley and Milton Keynes Central
https://www.londonnorthwesternrailway.co.uk
Tel. 0333 311 0006

London Northwestern Railway also operates services on the Marston Vale Line (Bedford – Bletchley) The Line has stations at Bletchley, Fenny Stratford, Bow Brickhill, Woburn Sands, Aspley Guise, Ridgmont, Lidlington, Millbrook, Stewartby, Kempston Hardwick, Bedford St Johns, Bedford.

The route is overseen by the Marston Vale Community Rail Partnership (MVCRP), MVCRP is led by Bedfordshire Rural Communities Charity, and brings together the local community, local authorities, parish councils, businesses, visitor attractions and the railway industry to promote and develop the Marston Vale Line.

MVCRP works to engage the local community and help people get the most from their railway, promoting social inclusion and sustainable travel, working alongside London Northwestern Railway to bring about improvements.

MVCRP manages the award-winning Ridgmont Station Heritage Centre and runs special events throughout the year. A wide range of volunteering opportunities are available including at Ridgmont Station Heritage Centre, Station Friends groups, administration & events support.

For further information visit www.marstonvalecommunityrail.org.uk, e-mail stephens@bedsrcc.org.uk or call 01234 832645.

Buses

Bedford Borough Council

Visit www.bedford.gov.uk/transport_and_streets/public_transport/timetables_and_maps.aspx or call the Bedford Borough Council Bus Information Line on 01234 718 005 on 01234 718005.

Central Bedfordshire Council

Visit https://www.centralbedfordshire.gov.uk/info/55/transport_roads_and_parking/587/public_transport_-_bus_timetables_routes_operators_and_rail_services or call 0300 300 8000.

Information on journeys further afield is available is available from Traveline – visit https://www.traveline.info/ or call 0871 200 22 33

Community Transport

Community transport covers all schemes set up to serve people unable to use conventional public transport, whether they be people needing to make essential journeys in isolated rural areas, or less mobile people unable to use conventional public transport however much of it there is.

The one thing these schemes have in common is that they are operated by people working together to solve their own transport needs. These schemes are nearly always dependent on voluntary effort and are most successful when the work load is shared by a large number of dedicated people.

Community Transport in Bedfordshire

There are a variety of community transport schemes within Bedfordshire. Some of these schemes do not fit neatly into categories, but broadly they can be split into the following types:

Community Buses - these minibuses are operated by volunteers and serve regular routes to set timetables. Like conventional buses, they are open to all members of the general public. In busy periods, such as just before Christmas, it is advisable to book a seat in advance. There are five community buses in Bedfordshire:

o Flittabus Community Transport Ltd. – serving the Ampthill and Flitwick area with routes to Milton Keynes & Bedford.
o Road Runner – serving the Kempston and Cranfield area with routes to Milton Keynes & Bedford.
o Ivel Sprinter – serving the Tempsford and Potton area with routes to Biggleswade, Sandy, Potton, St. Neots and Cambridge.
o The Villager Minibus (Sharnbrook) Ltd. – serving the Sharnbrook and Riseley area with routes to Bedford, Rushden, Peterborough, Milton Keynes, St. Ives and Huntingdon.
o Whitbread Wanderbus – serving the Shefford and Henlow Area with routes to Bedford, Shefford, Biggleswade, Milton Keynes, Stevenage, Hitchin, Baldock and Letchworth

Dial A Ride - this type of service provides door to door journeys for less mobile people who are unable to use conventional public transport. You will need to register and become a member to use the service. These vehicles are almost always wheelchair accessible, either by ramp or by lift.

Voluntary Car Schemes - these are an organised form of lift giving where volunteer drivers use their own cars to provide door to door journeys for people without transport. Some of these schemes form part of a wider Good Neighbour Scheme, providing a broad base of support and assistance throughout the local community.

Community Transport Brokerage – a minibus sharing scheme for voluntary organisations. Groups without a vehicle benefit from a 'one stop shop' to a range of minibuses across the county. Groups with a vehicle benefit from hire charges to cover running costs and advice on minibus management. For further information visit https://bedsrcc.org.uk/group-transport-hire/ or e-mail ctb@bedsrcc.og.uk

Accepting Fares

Any group operating a minibus and wishing to accept money from their members towards the cost of travel, even if that charge is not called a fare, needs to hold a Section 19 Small Bus Permit. This includes where the members club together to pay for the petrol, even if there is no profit made.

All community non-profit making groups can hold a Section 19 Permit. Examples of such groups include Scouts and Guides, sports clubs, and Senior Citizens organisations. All organisations using the Bedfordshire Community Transport Brokerage scheme are required to hold a permit.
A Permit costs £11 and is valid for 5 years.

For more information, or to apply for a permit, e-mail stephens@bedsrcc.org.uk or call 01234 832645.

Concessionary Fare Travel Scheme

The National Concessionary Travel Scheme allows people aged 60 or over, or those with a qualifying disability to travel on local buses (including community buses) free of charge anywhere in England at off-peak times. Off-peak is defined as the hours between 9:30 a.m. and 11:00 p.m. on Mondays to Fridays and all day on Saturdays, Sundays and Bank Holidays.

In addition to the national concession the following local schemes apply:

Bedford Borough - free travel on at any time for local bus journeys wholly within Bedford Borough. Bedford Borough pass holders can also travel for a fare of £1 on most peak-time bus services within the Borough.

Central Bedfordshire - free travel at any time on at any time in Central Bedfordshire and travel free as far as that bus goes. If that bus takes you outside of Central Bedfordshire, you may not be able to make an onward journey or return for free until after 9:30am on weekdays.

Bedfordshire residents can also travel for half the normal fare on the following rail services:

• Thameslink trains between Sandy, Biggleswade and Arlesey and any station as far as Hadley Wood, Crews Hill and Royston
• Thameslink trains between Bedford and Elstree & Borehamwood
• East Midlands Railway trains between Bedford and Luton Airport Parkway
• London Northwestern Railway services on the Marston Vale Line between Bedford and Bletchley