- 14 Oct 2020
Date received: 17 Aug 2020
Date responded: 10 Sep 2020
Details of expenditure by operator under £25,000 for the financial year 2018/19 in two categories -
a) concessionary Fares and b) Bus Services Operators Grant.
While our aim is to provide information whenever possible, in this instance we are unable to provide the information you have requested because an exemption under section '33(1)(b) - Substantial prejudice to commercial interests of FOISA', states that information may be withheld if its disclosure would, or would be likely to, prejudice substantially the commercial interest of any person, company, partnership or local authority.
This exemption is subject to the 'public interest test' and taking account of all the circumstances of this case, we have considered if the public interest in disclosing this information outweighs the public interest in applying the exemption. We have found that, on balance, the public interest lies in favour of upholding the exemption.
While we recognise there is some public interest in the release of this information to ensure transparency in the accountability of public funds, it is felt that this is ensured by publishing overall figures relating to the cost of running a concessionary travel scheme in Scotland. Transport Scotland actively publishes monthly details of all items of expenditure of a value of £25,000 or over. This information is available at https://www.transport.gov.scot/about/expenditure/
The release of this specific information could potentially reveal commercially sensitive information about an individual company. Some of the small operators only operate one service and by providing this level of detail we would be divulging information that clearly discloses the financial and business viability of the company in question which could subsequently be used unfairly by a competitor to its advantage.
While I cannot disclose this information by individual operator, I can confirm that for the year 2018/19, payments of under £25,000 for concessionary travel were made to a total of 108 operators to a total value of £546,018.95. Payments of under £25,000 for the Bus Services Operators Grant were made to 133 operators to a total value of £691,206.76.
The Scottish Government is committed to publishing all information released in response to Freedom of Information requests. View all FOI responses at http://www.gov.scot/foi-responses.
Please quote the FOI reference
Central Enquiry Unit
Phone: 0300 244 4000
The Scottish Government
St Andrews House