COVID-19 Support Grant

The Scottish Government has put in place financial support packages that will help bus operators to maintain and increase essential services as we move through the COVID-19 Route Map.

COVID-19 Support Grant (CSG)

This grant maintains the National Concessionary Travel Scheme (NCTS) reimbursement and Bus Service Operators Grant (BSOG) payments at the levels forecast prior to the impact of COVID-19.

How the grant works

All eligible operators were contacted in April/May and those who agreed to the grant terms are receiving payments.

Payments are being made to operators on a monthly basis and individual operator’s payments are based on:

  • the estimated level of NCTS lost due to COVID-19; plus
  • the pre-COVID expected level of BSOG

The grant terms require operators to:

  • continue to deliver around 30% (25-35%) of bus service levels for the period of the scheme to maintain core services (unless otherwise agreed with Transport Scotland); and
  • continue engagement with relevant local authorities and health boards to determine what bus services should be operated, when and on which routes.

The grant was initially put in place for a three month period with a review planned for June but with physical distancing requirements continuing it is being maintained for the time being and supplemented with additional funding (COVID-19 Support Grant - Restart) to enable services to be extended as Scotland moves out of lockdown.

COVID-19 Support Grant - Restart (CSG-R)

The Cabinet Secretary for Transport, Infrastructure and Connectivity Michael Matheson announced on 19 June 2020 that additional funding was being made available to support bus operators to increase bus services.  This grant was extended in August, October and December 2020, and in March and June 2021, with up to £191.3 million in funding made available in 2020-21 and up to £96.8 million for 1 April to 3 October 2021. This funding is subject to regular reconciliation to ensure we are not over or under paying operators and actual spend in 2020-21 is currently forecast at £120 million. On 8 September 2021 this grant was extended with up to £42 million in additional funding available for 4 October 2021 to 31 March 2022. The funding required for the 2021-22 financial year is now forecast at £88.2 million

COVID-19 Support Grant - Restart (CSG-R) will cover the gap between costs and the anticipated loss of fare-paying passenger revenue that bus operators will experience due to physical distancing and reduced carrying capacity. The extra CSG-R funding is available to support both fully commercial and local authority supported services.

How the grant works

All eligible operators were contacted in June and re-notified in August and October. Those who agree to the grant terms, through a Public Service Contract, will receive payments as follows:

  • a one off payment (on a cost per bus basis) which will help operators bring their bus fleet back into operation in order to increase service levels; and
  • a standard rate per forecast live kilometres, paid to operators every 4 weeks.

A detailed financial reconciliation will take place at least every twelve weeks. This will reconcile payments received by operators to actual expenditure incurred and income received. At this point under and over-payments will be calculated and additional payments made or excess payments recovered by Transport Scotland.

Model CSG-R Public Service Contract

This model contract is the basis for all COVID-19 Support Grant Restart (CSGR) contracts. It is illustrative, with outstanding details aligned to each operator. In particular, the levels of service (in km) to be delivered, as set out in the table in Schedule 1 Paragraph 1, are agreed with and specific to each operator and reflect the policy aim that operators receiving CSGR should deliver an overall service set by reference to pre Covid-19 levels.

Contracts for larger operators set operator specific £/km rates for the regular 4-weekly interim payments provided for in Schedule 2 Paragraph 17. These are calculated to reduce the size of any over- or under-payments requiring clawbacks or top ups in the reconciliation process. These contacts also include additional data sharing requirements to inform monitoring and delivery of CSGR.

Operators who are ineligible for COVID-19 Support Grant (CSG) or COVID-19 Support Grant - Restart (CSG-R) by reason of not running services prior to the impact of COVID-19 may be eligible for Bus Service Operators' Grant (BSOG) at this time.

For enquires about any of the COVID-19 Support Grants please contact