The Bute House Agreement and Programme for Government 2022-23 included a commitment to establish a
Community Bus Fund to support local transport authorities to improve local public transport in their areas. This fund will support local authorities to explore the full range of options set out in the Transport (Scotland) Act 2019, including municipal bus services."
The Transport (Scotland) Act 2019 includes options for local authority run bus services which came in to force in summer 2022. Secondary legislation for franchising and bus partnerships are due to be laid by the end of 2023. The Community Bus Fund (CBF) aims to support this reform by enabling local authorities to complete the preparatory work required, as well as broader innovations and improvements to local public transport with a focus on rural deprived areas where lower population density means bus services can be less commercially viable.
Grant Funding for 2023/24 information
CBF has been allocated £5 million capital funding and £0.75 million in resource funding for 2023-24.
A hybrid approach is being used to distribute the funding.
The £5 million capital will be distributed through the General Capital Grant for distribution to all local authorities on a per capita basis based on levels of transport poverty to support the fund objective of improving local public transport in areas of rural deprivation.
Below details the objectives for spend for the capital funding:
- Connectivity to improve access to bus services, for example by upgrading bus stops and installing real time information electronic timetables.
- Integration between transport modes, for example by installing infrastructure to support integration between modes, such as mobility hubs.
- Trialling innovative transport solutions or improvements to encourage patronage or create efficiencies, for example by purchasing digital platforms to support Demand Responsive Transport.
The £0.75 is available to local authorities as a pathfinder style project aimed at supporting local authorities to complete initial feasibility and preparatory work required for the 2019 Act.
Expressions of Interest will be used to identify pathfinder style projects which will complete initial feasibility and preparatory work. These pathfinder projects will provide valuable evidence of level of interest and identify need for support to complete preparatory work to allow local authorities to begin exploration of Transport (Scotland) Act 2019 Powers.
The Expression of Interest template linked below includes a short survey, and we would encourage all local authorities to complete and submit this survey even if not in a position to bid for this financial year.
The resource funding is available to apply for from 11 September 2023, and will be allocated on a first come basis first served basis until all funding is exhausted.
More information can be found on the Expression of Interest form below.
Reporting is required to help inform future policy and budget allocations. Local authorities are required to submit end of year reports on expenditure for both capital and resource funding. The details for the reporting mechanisms in association with this grant will be discussed and agreed with COSLA and ATCO representatives following the launch.
Templates for reporting on capital and resource expenditure will be made available in due course, and will include information on the project, and impacts.
Expression of Interest
- Download the Expression of Interest Form as a Word or PDF file
Completed forms and any supporting documents should then be submitted to the Community Bus Fund Mailbox at CBF@transport.gov.scot