Extra support for England’s buses
England’s bus and tram services will receive extra support worth up to £256 million.
The extra funding is to help them ramp-up services ahead of expected increases in public transport use in September. Bus services across the country will receive up to £218.4 million of support over the next eight weeks, with rolling funding at up to £27.3 million per week afterwards until a time when the funding is no longer needed.
The latest round of funding – key to safely getting young people back in education settings and workers back to their offices – means total support during the pandemic for bus and tram services will reach at least £700 million. This follows the £421 million already provided for buses and the £56 million provided for trams during the pandemic.
In a move the government says is in recognition of the vital nature of buses to the country, it is to publish a National Bus Strategy. It will to set out how Government plans to support this vital sector going forward. The Strategy is part of the Government’s activities in ensuring the bus sector can operate independently and be commercially viable.
CPT Chief Executive, Graham Vidler, said: “Continued social distancing measures mean capacity on buses remains reduced and income from passenger fares is still significantly lower than normal. This latest funding will help us keep running a comprehensive bus network that millions of people rely on.
“Bus operators remain committed to working with government, passengers, businesses and local authorities to provide a safe, flexible and sustainable bus network for local communities.”
Roads Minister, Baroness Vere, said: “As we continue to open up the economy, more people are using public transport and need sufficient service levels in order to travel safely.
“That’s why we took swift action at the start of this outbreak to ensure that these services were maintained for key workers then – and would still be there for people when the economy opened back up. This extension of funding pushes our overall support past £700 million, meaning people across the country will have access to the transport services they need.”