Local MSP for the Linlithgow Constituency, Fiona Hyslop, has welcomed the announcement of £42m funding to support bus operators in maintaining their services. The funding will be made available between October 4th 2021 and March 31st 2022. The announcement was made by Graeme Dey, Minister for Transport in response to a question Fiona Hyslop MSP had asked of the Scottish Government.
“While hygiene measures on public transport are still needed, more and more people are using the bus as restrictions have eased. This funding extension of an additional £42m for bus companies across Scotland will go some way to support bus operators to ensure they can transport local people to where they need to go. I know this will be appreciated in West Lothian which has many towns and villages, and where communities depend on their local bus services.
“This funding that was due to end on October 3rd had been a lifeline for many people who depend on local buses to get to work, to see family or attend appointments. I am pleased that the Scottish Government has taken the decision to continue this financial support, helping my constituents to get about and to reconnect after a long period of restrictions.”
See the official question and response below:
8 September 2021
Index Heading: Transport Scotland
Fiona Hyslop (Linlithgow) (Scottish National Party): To ask the Scottish Government whether COVID-19 funding for bus operators will be extended beyond 3 October 2021.
Graeme Dey: Bus services played an essential role in keeping Scotland moving safely during the coronavirus pandemic – and have an equally important part to play as we gradually start to return to some sense of normality.
Today I am announcing that up to £42 million in funding will be made available between 4 October 2021 and 31 March 2022 to support bus operators to maintain services.
With the easing of restrictions, more people are now using local bus services and I continue to encourage people to do so safely and in particular, to continue adhering to rules on the wearing of face coverings unless exempt.
In total, we had made up to £96.8 million available in 2021-22. Because passenger numbers have risen, I am pleased to report that the required funding for this financial year is now forecast at £88.2 million. We will continue to monitor that closely to ensure that bus operators have the funding they need to continue to maintain services, but also to ensure that we are not over or under paying them.