Almost £400 million to keep England’s buses running Greater funding to keep bus routes running during the coronavirus pandemic.
Published 3 April 2020 From:
Funding will protect bus services for people who need to travel, for example to get to work or buy food.
New funding, totalling £167 million over 3 months, comes on top of pledge to guarantee existing £200 million investment.
Up to another £30 million also reallocated to safeguard services.
England’s buses will continue to serve those who rely on them thanks to a funding boost totalling £397 million for vital bus operators. Transport Secretary Grant Shapps has announced today [Friday 3 April 2020].
The package, agreed jointly with the bus industry, will keep key routes running to provide a lifeline for those who cannot work from home, including those travelling to jobs on the frontline of the UK’s fight against COVID19, such as NHS staff.
New funding of up to £167 million will be paid over 12 weeks under the new COVID-19 Bus Services Support Grant. As a condition of the funding, bus operators will be required to maintain necessary services at a level which is sufficient to meet much reduced demand, but also to allow adequate space between passengers on board. This is expected to be up to 50% of normal service levels.
Transport Secretary Grant Shapps said:
Operators will also be required to keep passengers properly informed about revised timetables to ensure that people know which services are running and when.
The government has also promised that £200 million of existing funding under the Bus Services Operators Grant (https://www.gov.uk/government/collections/bus-services-grants-and-funding) will continue to be paid as normal even though not all services may run during this time. This funding is usually paid according to fuel consumption, and so the government’s commitment to pay this on pre-COVID-19 levels will help ensure that bus companies are able to benefit despite fewer fare-paying passengers travelling. This is in addition to up to £30 million of extra government bus funding, originally earmarked for starting new services, which will instead be paid to local authorities to maintain existing services.
The Chancellor of the Exchequer, Rishi Sunak, said:
CPT Chief Executive Graham Vidler said:
This is the latest step in a string of urgent measures being taken forward by government to support vital public services, including emergency measures to sustain rail services as operators manage the impacts of COVID19, and support for crucial links to different parts of the UK.