7th July 2021 – A £226.5 million bus sector funding package to ensure services outside London continue to run after coronavirus restrictions are lifted, has been announced today.
The Department for Transport (DfT) said the cash injection for operators in England will run from September 2021 until the end of the current financial year. After April 2022, no further COVID-19-related support for the sector will be provided.
The funding will be provided on a formula basis and follows the current emergency support package – COVID-19 Bus Service Support Grant (CBSSG) – which ends on 31 August.
In a written statement to Parliament on 6 July, Secretary of State for Transport Grant Shapps said that the bus sector funding will fund operators and local authorities.
“In addition to helping maintain services, recovery funding will support the key aims of the National Bus Strategy of encouraging local authorities and operators to work together to deliver better bus services. In return for receiving funding, operators will be asked to commit to co-operating with the process for establishing Enhanced Partnerships or franchising,” he said.
The announcement comes as the DfT said it has received 35 Expression of Interest applications for the Zero Emission Bus Regional Areas (ZEBRA) scheme, which gives local transport authorities the opportunity to compete for a share of £120 million to support the rollout of zero emission buses across England.
Both schemes are part of the government’s drive to build back better and greener from the pandemic, as the UK prepares to host COP26 and achieve net zero emissions by 2050.
The Confederation of Passenger Transport (CPT) has welcomed the funding. But it called on the government to work with “industry to loudly back a return to bus” to support the economic recovery of towns and cities and “ensure the country remains on track to meet its ambitious climate change and air quality goals”.
Read the full announcement – £226 million package to support vital bus services.