Network Support Grant

The Network Support Grant (NSG) is a discretionary grant which has been in place since 1 April 2022, and is available to eligible commercial and community bus operators to support the maintenance of Scotland’s bus network for the benefit of passengers by keeping fares more affordable and networks more extensive than would otherwise be the case.

Full information about the Network Support Grant and frequently asked questions can be found in the documents below.

The NSG is kept under review to ensure it remains in line with its strategic objectives.

Please read the information below and the NSG guidance fully. If you have any questions please refer to the Frequently Asked Questions page. If this still does not answer your query, please contact us at

Outline Terms and Conditions

NSG is paid at 14.4 pence per kilometre per bus. This is intended to contribute to the costs of running services. Outline terms and conditions include:

  • Provision of estimated service kms for the relevant financial year to Transport Scotland.
  • A commitment to consult with relevant local transport authorities on timetabling, paying special attention to those services which may support children to travel to school and that are required to minimise public transport connectivity disadvantages.
  • A commitment to respond positively and quickly to reasonable requests from local transport authorities to amend service patterns, hours of operation, vehicles used or levels of provision.
  • Delivery of mitigations in line with any applicable public health guidance and rules and regulations, including in relation to COVID-19.
  • A commitment to communicate changes to services with the relevant local transport authority, Transport Scotland, and the public in a timely fashion.
  • Compliance with Fair Work First requirements.

Fair Work First

From 1 July 2023, recipients of public sector grants are required to evidence that they are meeting Fair Work First principles which includes paying at least the real Living Wage and providing appropriate channels for effective workers' voice.

View the Scottish Government’s Fair Work First Guidance setting out further detail for grant recipients and organisations awarding public sector grants.

To apply for any Scottish Government grant (including NSG), operators must demonstrate that they are meeting the Fair Work First criteria by completing the Fair Work First Operator Compliance Statement.

The Fair Work First Operator Compliance Statement must be submitted before any NSG claim or payment can be processed. This will enable us to determine whether your organisation is meeting the Fair Work First criteria, which has two mandatory principles:

  1. Paying the real Living Wage to all paid employees.
  2. Providing appropriate channels for effective workers’ voice.

There is an exceptions process which is only applicable to the payment of the real Living Wage, further information about this process is available in the compliance statement. There is no exceptions process in place for meeting effective workers’ voice criteria as this is a mandatory condition.

The Fair Work First Operator Compliance Statement can be found in the NSG Forms section below.

NSG Eligibility

The Network Support Grant will be payable to operators who are:

  • Operating a local bus service as defined in section 2 of the Transport Act 1985.
  • Operating a community transport service under a section 19 or section 22 permit.
  • Whose service(s) meet the further requirements detailed in the Bus Service Operators Grant (Scotland) Regulations 2002, as set out in the guidance document.
  • Demonstrate they are meeting the Fair Work First principles.

PSV Licence (Commercial) Bus Operators

Commercial bus operators who run services under a public service vehicle (PSV) licence will be required to provide an annual estimate claim for the financial year 1 April to 31 March, and based on that claim will receive 13 four-weekly estimate payments. A certified claim for actual kilometres operated during that period must then be submitted at financial year end.

Should any material change occur during the claim year, a revised estimate claim must be submitted as soon as possible to allow a recalculation of the grant entitlement and payment adjustments as required.

Advance estimate payments are conditional upon a certified claim being submitted within three months of the end of the claim year to which the estimate refers. Failure to submit a certified claim within the required timeframe will result in future estimate payments being withheld and recovery of previous payments made.

NSG claims can be submitted for the current financial year only providing sufficient records are being kept to support the details of the claim. New operators joining during the grant period can submit an estimate claim at any time and payments may be backdated. Payments will be backdated to the first date the vehicle was in operation or to the first date of the current claim year if the vehicle was operating prior to 1 April. 

The NSG claim form and claim form completion guidance can be found in the NSG forms section below.

Section 19 and 22 Permit Operators

Community Transport organisations possessing a section 19 or section 22 permit can claim twice yearly aligning with the 13 four weekly claim periods. Your first claim will be for 7 four weekly periods covering April to October and your second claim will be for 6 four weekly periods covering October to March.

Community Transport organisations wishing to claim NSG under Section 19 or 22 of the Transport Act 1985 for the first time, must complete a pre-registration eligibility template to advise of their intention to claim. Once you have completed the template you must submit this along with a copy of your current permit(s) to

Operators must hold a valid Section 19 or Section 22 permit for the full duration of the claim period. We will hold a record of your details and issue a claim form at the appropriate time for you to complete your actual kilometres and submit your claim for NSG.

The NSG claim form and claim form completion guidance can be found in the NSG Forms section below.

Demand Responsive Transport (DRT) Operators

Due to the nature of demand transport, DRT services are not eligible for advance payments. DRT services must be claimed on actual kilometres run.

Similar to permit operators, DRT services should be claimed twice yearly aligning with the 13 four weekly claim periods. Your first claim will be for 7 four weekly periods covering April to October and your second claim will be for 6 four weekly periods covering October to March. 

Please refer to the NSG Guidance for more information on how to claim for DRT services.

NSG Payments

NSG is paid at 14.4p per kilometre operated by each eligible service, and payments are made based on the 13 four-weekly Payment Periods.

NSG Claim Forms

The NSG claim form for 2024-25 has changed, a new form has been designed in line with developments in our technology and administration processes.

This new claim form will be used by all bus operators for all estimate and certified claims and the Claim Form Completion Guidance which can be found below, provides detailed instructions of which areas apply to each operator type and how to complete these.

This new approach is being implemented with an aim to make the management of NSG, the administration of claims and the budgeting and forecasting of this grant more efficient.

The NSG claim submission and payments process has not changed, operators will continue to submit their claims and receive payments as before and as fully detailed in the NSG guidance.

2023-24 Claim Forms

Once you have reviewed the information and guidance provided, if you believe you are eligible and would like to join this grant, please email

Any queries should also be directed to this mailbox.