• Ayrshire Daily News

Further £61.4 million to maintain bus services across Scotland

The Scottish Government has approved an additional expenditure of up to £61.4 million to enable bus operators to maintain services during the COVID-19 pandemic.

The new funding extends the support of up to £191.3 million provided to increase bus services since June 2020.


Cabinet Secretary for Transport, Infrastructure and Connectivity Michael Matheson said:

“Bus services have been absolutely vital in keeping Scotland moving safely during the coronavirus pandemic – most recently, helping people attend vaccination appointments as well as other essential journeys.


“This additional funding of up to £61.4 million means we can continue to fund operators for just over twelve weeks between April and June, helping to fill the gap between the additional costs of running services due to COVID-19 and reduced ticket income while vital restrictions remain in place.


"While we will continue to do all we can to support our bus industry and our public transport network, it is important that the public continues to follow the most up-to-date travel guide and to walk, wheel or cycle where possible.


“Particularly as more pupils return to schools next week; we’re asking everyone to play their part in ensuring that the current reduced capacity onboard buses are there for those who really need it. I give my heartfelt thanks to everyone who has worked so hard to help us create a safe travel environment under unprecedented circumstances.”


Director for CPT in Scotland, Paul White said:

“CPT welcomes the Government’s continued recognition of the important role the bus network is playing in facilitating essential journeys for key workers, enabling children to return to school, and providing vital travel links to vaccination centres.


This funding extension will help meet the costs associated with running the network while experiencing significantly reduced capacity. CPT will continue to engage with the Scottish Government to ensure that bus services provision meets demand as we hopefully gradually and safely transition out of Covid-19 restrictions and social distancing.”


Background


Up to £61.4 million in additional funding is being made available to cover the period 1 April-27 June 2021. This funding covers the gap between additional operational costs due to COVID-19 and the loss of fare revenue due to physical distancing and reduced demand.

This funding is in addition to up to £191.3 million that the Scottish Government has made available to support bus services in the financial year 2020-21. This funding is subject to regular reconciliation to ensure we are not over or underpaying operators and actual spend in 2020-21 is forecast at £144.5 million.