Bus operators across the country will receive £226.5 million in government funding as COVID-19 restrictions are lifted, Roads Minister Baroness Vere has announced.
The funding will run from September 2021 to April 2022 and will support operators across England, outside of London.
The Department for Transport has also received 35 Expression of Interest applications for the Zero Emission Bus Regional Areas (ZEBRA) scheme, which gives local transport authorities the opportunity to compete for a share of £120 million to support the rollout of zero emission buses.
Both schemes are part of the government’s drive to build back better and greener from the pandemic, as the UK prepares to host COP26 and achieve net zero emissions by 2050.
“The recovery funding will ensure vital services continue to run by supporting operators in those initial months, as restrictions are lifted and passengers begin to return in higher numbers,” Vere said.
“And as we build back greener from the pandemic, the £120 million to roll out zero emission buses will have a profoundly positive effect on our towns and cities, lowering emissions, improving air quality and reducing noise pollution.”
ZEBRA funding comes from the wider £3 billion fund announced by the government to improve bus services in the national bus strategy.
Commenting on the announcement, First Bus Managing Director Janette Bell said: “We welcome today’s announcement by UK Government of a bus recovery funding package for England which will ensure that an effective bus network can be provided for customers as the economy and the communities we serve emerge from the pandemic.
"We will continue to build on the successful partnerships we have created with local authorities to meet our customers’ needs by developing joint plans for further improvements and innovation over the coming months.
“It is vital that Government continues to work together with us to encourage more people onto buses in order to deliver economic revival, improve air quality and meet the UK’s net zero ambitions.”