Smart Transport

Government provides £150m in emergency funding support for public transport

People on a bus in masks

The Government  will extend its COVID funding support for public transport for a further six months with £150 million for bus and light rail operators.

The Department for Transport said the funding package for services in England represents the “final tranche of pandemic-related support” and will run for six months until October 2022.

The DfT said the latest round of emergency funding builds on almost two years’ worth of “unprecedented Government support” to keep bus and light rail networks running, with around £2 billion made available to over 160 operators during the pandemic.

Transport Secretary Grant Shapps said: “This funding will ensure millions of us can continue to use vital public transport services.

“Not only that, as we look ahead and continue our work to overhaul services and build back better from the pandemic, this funding will also help authorities and operators work together to provide even better services for people right across the country.”

Graham Vidler, chief executive of the Confederation of Passenger Transport (CPT), said the funding will help operators have the certainty they need to run an extensive network of services over the coming months.

He said: “In the longer term the bus network will need to adapt to meet passengers’ new travel patterns.

“Over the coming months operators will be working closely with local authorities to plan future bus networks and introduce plans to grow passenger numbers. To aid these local efforts we look forward to working with the Government to loudly promote bus travel.”

This funding is dependent on local areas and operators co-designing a “financially sustainable and passenger focussed” public transport network, that works for changing travel patterns post-pandemic.  

The Urban Transport Group also welcomed the funding.

Jonathan Bray, director of the Urban Transport Group, said the six month extension should provide the breathing space necessary to address the need for more comprehensive reform of bus funding.

He added: “This should be based on streamlining, enhancing and devolving bus funding in order to enable bus networks to meet the medium and long term objectives of the national bus strategy for growing the bus market through more and better services.”

The DfT said more details on the allocation of this funding will be provided in due course.

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