The Scottish Government has approved a further £52.6m to support and maintain bus services in Scotland during the coronavirus COVID-19 pandemic.
Transport Scotland says the funding extends support of ‘up to £109.7m’ to increase bus services since June. The new tranche of funding is to cover further losses in fare revenue expected between 9 November and 17 January.
Cabinet Secretary for Transport, Infrastructure and Connectivity Michael Matheson says: “Bus services have been absolutely vital in keeping Scotland moving during the COVID-19 pandemic – helping people get to work, access health services and see family and friends.
“This additional funding of up to £52.6m will help operators to cover the expected loss of fare-paying passenger revenue that they continue to experience due to physical distancing requirements and reduced demand.
“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. Together we can create a safe environment to travel and navigate our way through this public health emergency.”
CPT in Scotland welcomes the funding. Director for CPT in Scotland Paul White says: “We’re pleased that the Scottish Government has recognised the important role the bus network is playing in helping people travel safely and in a sustainable manner.
“This funding is designed to cover the costs associated with the running of a network with significantly reduced capacity, until passenger numbers are able to return to normal levels. We will continue working with government, passengers, businesses and local authorities to provide a safe, flexible bus network which allows those who need it to make their essential journeys.”