The Scottish Government has approved additional expenditure of up to £35.4 million to enable bus operators to maintain services during the COVID-19 pandemic.
The new funding extends the support of up to £61.4 million that the Scottish Government has already made available in 2021-22, and up to £191.3 million that was available in 2020-21.
Up to £35.4 million in additional funding is being made available to cover the period 28 June – 3 October 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 is in addition to up to £61.4 million that the Scottish Government has already made available in 2021-22, and up to £191.3 million that was available in 2020-21.
This funding is subject to regular reconciliation to ensure that its is not over or under paying operators and actual spend in 2020-21 is currently forecast at £119.5 million. Funding only covers the gap between additional Covid-19 operational costs and lost fare revenue due to physical distancing and reduced demand.
Minister for Transport Graeme Dey said: “Bus services have played a vital role in keeping Scotland moving safely during the coronavirus pandemic – helping people attend vaccination appointments and other essential travel, as well as starting to return to some sense of normality.
“This additional funding of up to £35.4 million means we can continue to fund operators between June and October, 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 and demand is suppressed.
“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 continue to follow the most up-to-date travel guidance and to walk, wheel or cycle where possible. As restrictions ease further, we’re asking everyone to play their part in maintaining a safe travel environment for everyone who needs it.”
Director for the Confederation of Passenger Transport in Scotland, Paul White said: “CPT welcomes the Scottish Government’s continued recognition of the important role the bus network plays in facilitating essential travel for key workers, links to vaccination centres, and as an accessible, sustainable mode of transport for the growing number of passenger journeys.
“This funding extension will help meet the costs associated with running the network at a reduced capacity. CPT will continue to engage with the Scottish Government to ensure that bus services provision meets increasing demand as we transition out of Covid-19 restrictions and social distancing.”