Reprieve for bus operators as BRG gets a further six month extension

Bus Recovery Grant

The cost of living crisis has been a major factor in the Government’s decision to further extend the Bus Recovery Grant (BRG) until the end of March 2023 with an extra £130million of financial support for bus services operating in England.

Originally due to end on 4th October, the BRG is accessible to any public bus operator running commercial or community bus services outside of the London and Greater Manchester areas, which are running at a minimum of 80% of pre-pandemic capacity.

The DfT says the additional funding will help to protect bus services and routes, which are “particularly important to people facing pressures due to the rising cost of living.”

Sukky Choongh, Environmental Manager at SMMT, said: “The BRG extension is a much welcome initiative and necessary to support bus operator recover from the ongoing effects of the Covid-19 pandemic which has had a devastating impact on bus services.

“Some regions have already reduced services, limiting mobility for many, so it is essential that operators are supported to increase patronage and provide a high class public transport service that centres around the bus.”

Graham Vidler, Chief Executive of the Confederation of Passenger Transport, said: “We welcome the government’s announcement of recovery funding to support bus services in local communities for a further six months. This will help bus operators and local authority partners to balance a network of reliable and affordable services in the short-term, as bus networks adapt to new travel patterns.

“For the longer-term, we will continue to work closely with central government and local authorities to encourage existing and new passengers to get on board the country’s buses, ensuring they are provided the best possible services.”

The UK’s leading distributor of OE parts and components for the bus and coach sector, Imperial Engineering, has also welcomed the extension of the recovery funding package. John Dwight, Imperial Engineering’s Sales Director, commented:

“The provision of further support to the bus sector will be a relief to operators, as they continue to recover from the impact of the pandemic. With energy prices rising significantly, it’s pretty certain that more people will be looking to public transport as an alternative to running a car, so this final cash injection is to be welcomed. In addition, the investment that’s been made in bringing zero emission buses into service will help to attract more passengers when they acknowledge the benefits this will bring to their local community in terms of improved air quality and less noise. Imperial Engineering stands alongside our operator colleagues in helping the sector to recover.”