Department for Transport confirms financial support for bus and coach industry 26/03/2020

Yesterday evening CPT’s Graham Vidler received a letter from Secretary of State for Transport, Grant Shapps, outlining steps the Government will take to support the bus and coach industry during the Covid-19 outbreak.

In his letter Grant Shapps acknowledged that Covid-19 has had a significant impact on the industry, and that bus services remain crucial to communities, key workers and people taking essential journeys. To enable these services to continue the Government will pay Bus Service Operators Grants based on estimated pre-pandemic service levels.

The letter made clear that it is the Government’s strong desire that operators do all they can to ensure the provision of services which local authorities consider necessary and that timetable changes are communicated well to passengers. The Government has requested that all operators allow use of concessionary passes all day, an action which many operators have already taken. In return the Government will urge local authorities to continue payments for tendered bus services and concessionary fare reimbursement at pre-pandemic levels.

CPT continues to press the Government hard for further funding to meet the full costs of operating socially necessary services during the pandemic and to ensure the industry emerges from the pandemic ready to provide the bus service the nation will need as it returns to normal.

To support the coach sector, which has been hit particularly hard, the Department for Transport have confirmed that they will be writing to all local authorities to set out the expectation that home to school services are paid as if the full network was in operation. This is a significant and welcome development reflecting the work of the CPT team in highlighting the need for urgent financial support for the industry, and the forthcoming Department for Transport letter should mean local authorities commit to 100% payments in the coming days.