On Tuesday, George Adam asked the Scottish Government whether COVID-19 funding for bus operators will be extended beyond 17 January 2021 in a bid to ensure his constituents have access to suitable public transport during the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic.
In response to the question from Paisley’s MSP, the Cabinet Secretary for Transport, Infrastructure and Connectivity, Michael Matheson, announced up to £29 million in further funding to support bus operators to maintain bus services between 18 January and 31 March 2021.
This is in addition to the £162.3 million in funding the Scottish Government has been providing since June to support bus services and will cover the expected loss of fare revenue due to carrying capacity constraints as a result of physical distancing and reduced demand.
Bus travel typically accounts for almost three quarters of public transport journeys, so this funding will be vital in keeping public transport running for those who need it while capacity is reduced due to physical distancing.
George Adam said:
“While the COVID-19 pandemic has been incredibly challenging for most industries, it’s important that our public transport system remains operational despite reduced capacity and the pressures of social distancing.
“Our local bus services are vital in keeping Paisley connected and moving, and it is crucial that operators are able to continue to function as normal so we can safely travel to work, access health services, or visit loved ones when necessary.
“With that in mind, it was important to me to ask what further funding was available so I am delighted to hear of this increased support from the Scottish Government and their continued commitment to our transport network.
“I’d like to highlight here that while the Government remains committed to doing all it can to help the bus industry deliver services; it is vital that the public continues to follow the latest travel guidance and walk, wheel or cycle wherever they can.
“With the public’s help we can provide safe public transport while protecting public health.”