£7 million to upgrade public, school and community transport

Public, School and Community Transport COVID-19 Mitigation Fund

The Scottish Government has announced £7 million towards upgrading transport to mitigate against COVID-19.

The newly created Public, School and Community Transport COVID-19 Mitigation Fund supports interventions by transport operators that will increase capacity and public confidence for those using school transport.

The funding is open to support measures on buses, taxis and private hire vehicles, trams, subway and local ferries and planes that are used for public, school and community transport. It will help install measures needed to provide capacity and increased public confidence. These measures could include driver screens, hand sanitiser dispenser and fitting, high-performance air conditioning units or disinfectant fogging equipment.

Full details of the the scheme are available on the Energy Saving Trust website.

Cabinet Secretary for Transport, Infrastructure and Connectivity Michael Matheson said:

“Recent surveys indicate there is still a high degree of anxiety around using public transport due to the risks posed by COVID-19. While there is no risk-free solution at this time, I want to do all that we can to help mitigate the risks that do exist on public transport.

“This funding offers public, school and community transport providers the opportunity to install additional measures should they need to. I recognise that many operators and staff have been working tirelessly to create a safer environment for passengers – but some may still need to take additional steps or require funding to do so.

“With more people expected to make journeys over the coming weeks – this is the right time to provide additional support to help mitigate some of the risks posed by COVID-19 on public transport.

“It’s important to stress that COVID-19 does still present a danger and masks are compulsory on public transport unless an exemption applies. Practicing good hand hygiene is also critical in controlling the spread of the virus.

“Due to physical distancing requirements, capacity on our public transport network remains limited. Despite these additional measures to keep people safe, our guidance remains the same. Work from home if you can. Walk, wheel and cycle for everyday journeys where possible – and if you do need to use public transport, remember to plan ahead, travelling outside of peak times if you can. By following these steps, we can all help manage demand on our public transport network and leave space for people that need it most.”