New guide to run visitor bus services in rural landscapes

New forest tour blue route at milford on sea

Published Thursday 24 September 2015

A new toolkit on how to run successful visitor bus services in National Parks and other special landscapes has been produced by the New Forest National Park Authority.

The Visitor Bus Toolkit is a practical guide on how landscape managers and rural authorities can set up and promote seasonal bus services which cater for visitors but also benefit local residents.  

It’s been funded by the Two National Parks Local Sustainable Transport Fund (LSTF), a Department for Transport fund which aimed to reduce the impact of car traffic in the New Forest and South Downs national parks.

The 44-page toolkit provides detailed advice on running commercially-viable services, including how to plan routes, build partnerships, deliver successful marketing campaigns and generate income.

The guide highlights successful case studies from across England and Wales including Breeze up to the Downs, DalesBus, Gower Explorer, Needles Breezer, Lakes Connection, New Forest Tour and Pembrokeshire Coastal. 

Mark Holroyd, Transport and Tourism Manager at the National Park Authority, said: ‘Buses give visitors a chance to leave their cars behind and take in the view. Visitors exploring by bus typically spend more time in local villages and attractions – spending more money and getting more out of their visit. Importantly, buses can ease pressures on fragile landscapes by taking cars off the road and reducing carbon emissions.

‘We’ve recently seen how rural buses which are reliant on public subsidies can be vulnerable to cuts. Whilst some support is needed to establish these services, visitor markets are key to making services more secure and less reliant on ever decreasing pots of public funding.

‘By transforming buses into an experience, rather than just something to get you from A to B, it is possible to develop more commercially viable services in popular destinations. This has already been achieved in the Isle of Wight, the Lake District and the New Forest – all showcased in this toolkit. We hope other national parks and special landscapes will find this toolkit a useful guide to launch their own visitor bus services.’  

Download a free copy of the ‘Visitor Bus Toolkit’ at


Picture caption: Please find attached a photo of the New Forest Tour blue route at Milford-on-Sea.

Notes to Editor:

•    The Two National Parks Local Sustainable Transport Fund programme is led by Hampshire County Council with the New Forest and South Downs National Park Authorities, with Wiltshire Council, West Sussex County Council, East Sussex County Council and Brighton & Hove Council. The first programme was awarded £3.8million by the Department for Transport in 2012 to 2015, and the second £2million for 2015-16.
•    Find out more about the programme at:
•    New Forest aspects of the programme are found here:

About the New Forest National Park Authority

Protect - Enjoy - Prosper

The New Forest National Park Authority’s statutory purposes are to:

• Conserve and enhance the natural beauty, wildlife and cultural heritage of the Park - Protect.
• Promote opportunities for understanding and enjoyment of its special qualities – Enjoy.

We also have a duty to:

• Seek to foster the social and economic well-being of local communities within the Park – Prosper.

The New Forest National Park was designated in March 2005. Its unique landscape has been shaped over the centuries by grazing ponies, cattle and pigs which roam free. Majestic woodlands, rare heathland and a spectacular coastline provide fabulous opportunities for quiet recreation, enjoyment and discovery.

Visit to find out more.

Media Contacts:

Sion Donovan, Communications Officer, New Forest National Park Authority
Tel: 01590 646639

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