The Scottish Government has extended the COVID-19 Support Grant – Restart (CSG-R) scheme in a move that will see a further up to £42m go towards maintaining bus services between 4 October and 31 March 2022. It sits alongside concessionary reimbursement and bus service operators grant continuing to being paid at pre-COVID-19 levels.
CSG-R covers the gap between costs and the anticipated loss of fare-paying passenger revenue encountered by operators. It forms part of what Transport Scotland says is up to £96.8m made available by the Scottish Government to support bus services in 2021-22. However, the expected level of support needed for the financial year has reduced as patronage has grown. It now stands at £88.2m.
In announcing the extension to CSG-R, Minister for Transport Graeme Dey says that buses have “played an essential role in keeping Scotland moving safely during the COVID-19 pandemic – and have an equally important part to play as we gradually start to return to some sense of normality.”
However, Mr Dey has encouraged people in Scotland to “keep up the good habits by continuing to walk, wheel or cycle where possible.”
The current round of CSG-R commenced on 28 June and runs to 3 October. It is worth up to £35.4m. The Confederation of Passenger Transport Scotland has welcomed further extension of the scheme. Director Paul White says that it represents “continued recognition of the vital role that the bus network plays.”