The Scottish Government has confirmed an additional £25.7m to extend recovery funding for the country’s bus sector but the current support scheme will end in October.
Ministers have extended the Network Support Grant (NSG) Plus, a temporary scheme to support the bus network as the country recovers from the pandemic, until October.
However, Transport Scotland said that with patronage growing and more young people continuing to take advantage of free bus travel, support will ‘evolve’ and NSG Plus will cease at the end of this extended period.
Transport minister Jenny Gilruth (pictured) said: ‘For our health, our climate and our communities, we will continue to support our bus industry and encourage the shift away from cars and towards sustainable public transport.’
The Confederation of Passenger Transport (CPT) Scotland welcomed the extension of NSG Plus, which it said was introduced to help cover the difference between reduced revenue and increasing costs.
It said it CPT was informed in May the scheme would be likely to end early and has been working with its members to make the case to government that it needed to continue at current rates to provide a protective roadmap through the summer.
It added that it hoped that in the autumn the bus network will be in a stronger position due to the return of students, an increase in commuter travel, and the expected launch of a government supported national marketing campaign to encourage people to take the bus.
CPT Scotland director Paul White said: ‘Today’s announcement means this recovery and planning can happen while the sector continues to operate a comprehensive network of sustainable, reliable, and affordable services, rather than to the likely background of deeper cuts that would have followed had a continuation of funding not been forthcoming.’