Further £61.4m for Scottish bus operators

An additional expenditure of up to £61.4 million to enable Scotland’s bus operators to maintain services during the Covid-19 pandemic has been approved by the Scottish Government.

The new funding extends the support of up to £191.3 million provided to increase bus services since June 2020. The money is to cover the period 1 April to 27 June 2021. The funding is intended to cover the gap between additional operational costs due to Covid-19 and the loss of fare revenue due to physical distancing and reduced demand.

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 continue to follow the most up-to-date travel guidance 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 currently reduced capacity on board buses is 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 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.”

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