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MiniPlus Article
May 09 2018
By Mel Holley

A former routeone editor, Mel has more than 30 years’ experience in road and rail transport journalism.

BSOG clampdown on schools
services with new clear rules

A set of seven principles to be followed by the Department for Transport (DfT) and operators aimed at resolving the “uncertainty” around the eligibility of Bus Service Operators Grant (BSOG) claims for schools services has been set out.

The changes come in from 1 September.

The DfT is about to send a letter to all operators setting out the eligibility circumstances and the ‘set of principles’ to be followed, after discussions between the DfT, operators, local authorities, auditors, claims compliers and the Confederation of Passenger Transport (CPT).

In October 2015 the DfT wrote to operators saying they should not be claiming BSOG for ‘closed’ services which only pupils and staff are able to board.

Now, the DfT says that the BSOG team is spending a “disproportionate amount of time” analysing claims to ensure that the DfT is not paying BSOG for services it considers non-eligible, delaying payment. It adds that it “recognises that operators want greater certainty as to whether services which serve schools are likely to be eligible for BSOG, and what evidence they need to provide to DfT to support their claims.”

The seven principles, set out in detail in the letter, include dealing with services that are open to the general public, and ones where part of a route runs within the schools grounds. The BSOG team will not accept services registered as “schools or works services.”

Operators’ websites, literature, Traveline details are also covered by the ‘principles’, as is what should happen if doubt still remains about a service.

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