Bus Services (Grants and Funding)
Government grants used to support local bus services
Bus Services Operators' Grant
From 1 January 2014, the Department for Transport (DfT) have paid an annual grant to eligible local authorities in England, to replace the 'Bus Service Operators' Grant' for tendered services. Up until this time, the grant had been paid directly to the bus operators.
The grant is made available for the purposes of supporting bus services and the infrastructure surrounding them.
As part of the grant conditions, we are required to report on how we have made use of these funds by completing a short survey issued by the DfT. More information can be found in the reports below.
Covid-19 Bus Services Support Grant (CBSSG)
For the period 17 March to 8 June 2020, the Department for Transport issued funding to West Berkshire Council for supported local bus services that were affected by COVID-19. The funding was made available to provide additional support for operators (not to replace normal funding levels for local bus services).
In West Berkshire, we used the funding to support operators who experienced a loss of passenger income over this period, compared to the 2019 calendar year. Each service continued to operate at pre-covid levels.
|Operator||Bus Services||Period||Contribution Made to Offset Loss of Passenger Income||Kilometres operated during Period||Kilometres operated Jan to Dec 2019|
|Reading Transport Ltd||2/2a/2c, 3/3a/3x, 4/4a/4b/4c, 6/6a, 8, 9/9b/9c||17 March to 19 April 2020||£13,786.57||41,116||433,839|
|Newbury and District Ltd||2/2a/2c, 3/3a/3x, 4/4a/4b/4c, 6/6a, 8, 9/9b/9c||20 April to 8 June 2020||£24,946.42||60,964||N/A|
|Thames Travel||143||17 March to 8 June 2020||£12,100.19||11,617||43,651|
The DfT extended their COVID-19 support for bus services through a 'CBSSG Restart' grant from 9 June 2020 to 31 August 2021. In West Berkshire, we continued to support services with this funding to cover losses where the operator or local authority take the revenue risk on a tendered service, and we also assisted some services with additional capacity. Funding was also issued to assist with operators' PPE, restart and safe operating costs (e.g. additional cleaning) for 17 March 2020 to 31 August 2021.
|Operator||Bus Services||Contribution to Offset Loss of Passenger Income||Contribution to Additional Capacity||Contribution to PPE, Restart and Safe Operating Costs||Kilometres Operated 09 June 2020 to 31 August 2021||Kilometres Operated Jan to Dec 2019|
|Horseman Coaches||154 (to 31 March 2021, after which service supported by Wokingham Borough Council)||-||-||£15,273.42 (to 31 March 2021)||687 (to 31 March 2021)||1,561|
|Newbury & District Ltd||2/2a/2c, 3/3a/3x, 4/4a/4b/4c, 6/6a, 8, 9/9b/9c||£157,547.96||-||-||564,925||(service was operated by Reading Transport - see above table on CBSSG)|
|West Berkshire Council||H1, 5/5a/5c, 41, 44, 47||£32,929.95||£1,469.40||£13,781.85||167,121||179,965|
Funding for Supported Bus Services
In April 2020, the Department for Transport confirmed that West Berkshire Council had also been allocated Funding for Supported Bus Services.
This funding can be used to improve current supported bus services, restore lost bus services and support new or extended bus services. It can also be used to assist bus services which have been impacted by COVID-19. We published a statement of how we intended to use the funding:.
In financial year 2020/21, focus was placed on maintaining existing services impacted by the pandemic. The grant allocation was therefore carried forward in full to financial year 2021/22.
In financial year 2021/22, with the pandemic still having a significant impact on local bus services, we prioritised the funding on marketing initiatives to promote the use of, and support the recovery of, local bus services. We worked with Newbury & District, Reading Buses, Thames Travel and Stagecoach to offer free bus travel in West Berkshire on two Saturdays running up the Christmas period, at a total cost of £12,364.10.
In financial year 2022/23, we have continued to offer free bus travel days at Easter, on the Jubilee weekend and on World Car Fee Day. From 25 July 2022, we also extended service 5 (Brightwalton to Newbury) to operate additionally during the school holidays.