The Scottish Government has committed £93.5 million of the 2022-23 Budget to support bus operators, in light of changed travel patterns which emerged as a result of pandemic restrictions.
This includes £40 million of additional funding to support recovery.
The Bus Network Support Grant, announced in the Scottish Parliament on Thursday, will secure local services while passenger numbers recover from the impact of Covid.
From April 1, it will replace the Covid Support Grant, the ‘Covid Support Grant – Restart’ and the Bus Service Operators Grant.
The new grant will provide more flexibility than the emergency Covid funding schemes, meaning services can adapt to changed travel patterns.
It will be available on the same terms to new as well as established operators, to improve efficiencies and the offer to passengers across Scotland.
The level of support can be adjusted as passenger numbers recover, ensuring it is financially sustainable and helping services adapt to new travel patterns and demand as the country emerges from the pandemic.
The new fund is part of wider efforts to attract passengers back over the longer term – including improvements relating to bus priority, ticketing and data.
Mr Dey said the funding will offer financial certainly for operators and continuity of service.
He said: “I am delighted with the announcement of very substantial funding for the vital bus links that connect communities across Angus and Scotland-wide.
“It is critical that the support for transport operators is adapted as we continue to navigate our way out of the pandemic, in order to ensure both functionality and value for money.
“The scale of the commitment here offers financial certainty for operators and passengers alike, as passenger numbers recover with the easing of Covid restrictions. Protecting sustainable public transport and cutting car journeys is also a very important part of Scotland’s transition to Net Zero, so this grant is an important step on that front too.”