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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.

ZEBRA 2 funding

The Department for Transport have launched ZEBRA 2 funding, which will provide £129 million to support the introduction of Zero Emissions Buses in financial years 2023/24 and 2024/25. West Berkshire Council, working in partnership with one of our local bus operators, will be submitting a bid for some of this grant funding in December 2023.

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.

CBSSG Contributions to Local Bus Services - 17 March to 8 June 2020
OperatorBus ServicesPeriodContribution Made to Offset Loss of Passenger IncomeKilometres operated during PeriodKilometres operated Jan to Dec 2019
Reading Transport Ltd2/2a/2c, 3/3a/3x, 4/4a/4b/4c, 6/6a, 8, 9/9b/9c17 March to 19 April 2020£13,786.5741,116433,839
Newbury and District Ltd2/2a/2c, 3/3a/3x, 4/4a/4b/4c, 6/6a, 8, 9/9b/9c20 April to 8 June 2020£24,946.4260,964N/A
Thames Travel14317 March to 8 June 2020£12,100.1911,61743,651

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.

CBSSG Restart Contributions to Local Bus Services - 9 June 2020 to 31 August 2021
OperatorBus ServicesContribution to Offset Loss of Passenger IncomeContribution to Additional CapacityContribution to PPE, Restart and Safe Operating CostsKilometres Operated 09 June 2020 to 31 August 2021Kilometres Operated Jan to Dec 2019
Horseman Coaches154 (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 Ltd2/2a/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)
Thames Travel143£7,846.90--55,29143,651
West Berkshire CouncilH1, 5/5a/5c, 41, 44, 47£32,929.95£1,469.40£13,781.85167,121179,965


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: Icon for pdf Funding for Supported Bus Services in 2020 [451KB] .

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, the Platinum Jubilee and on World Car Free Day.  From 25 July 2022, we also extended service 5 (Brightwalton to Newbury) to operate additionally during the school holidays.

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