Publication - FOI/EIR release

Questions concerning subsidised routes for buses 17, 36 and 56: EIR release

Published: 15 Oct 2020

Information request and response under the Environmental Information (Scotland) Regulations 2004.

Published:
15 Oct 2020
Questions concerning subsidised routes for buses 17, 36 and 56: EIR release
FOI reference: FOI/202000080431
Date received: 23 Aug 2020
Date responded: 8 Sep 2020
Information requested

1.Are any of the above bus routes subsidised by the Local Authority and/or by the Scottish Government? 

2. Are there any other grants or financial incentives for those particular bus routes?

3. If subsidised/financed, how much is the subsidy? 

4. Does any route warrant more of a subsidy than any other? 

5. If there are more buses running on any particular route does the amount of financial payment increase?

6. Who decides where Timing Points will be located and what criterion is used to determine those timing points?

7. Finally, who determines the bus routes and are there any restrictions as to the number of buses on each route?

Response

1. Transport Scotland is responsible for reimbursing operators the cost of carrying concessionary passengers under the National Concessionary Travel Schemes. This reimbursement is intended to
cover the commercial fare the operator would have received had the passenger paid for their journey. Operators should be no better or worse off by participating in these schemes.

We are also responsible for the Bus Services Operators Grant (BSOG) which pays operators 14.4p
per km plus an additional amount for low carbon/emission vehicles or vehicles operating with bio
diesel fuel. This payment is made based on the total mileage for the route irrespective of the number of vehicles operating on the route.

During the pandemic, which has severely affected both demand and capacity, we have temporarily
replaced BSOG with the COVID Support Grant (CSG) and the COVID Support Grant-Restart (CSGR). These grants are intended to cover net costs, with no allowance for profit and is subject to a periodic reconciliation process at which excess payments will be recovered or underpayments topped up. A condition of this payment is that operators run a specified number of kilometres per week across the country. The scheme is not specific to individual routes.

We are required to publish monthly, all payments over £25,000 in value. This information is published at operator level - we do not have this detail by individual routes:

http://www.transport.gov.scot/about/expenditure/

In respect of any other subsidies for Stagecoach routes, we do not hold this information. This would be a matter for the local authorities or the bus company themselves.

2. We are not aware of any other grants or financial incentives for these particular routes. Most grants or incentives would be agreed for the company as a whole as opposed to individual route level.

3. The current reimbursement rate for concessionary travel is 55.9% of the adult single fare. The operator will receive this reimbursement for each concession passenger carried. The standard rate paid for BSOG is 14.4p per km, with additional rates for low carbon/emission vehicles or vehicles operating with bio diesel fuel. Any other service subsidies are for the local authority to determine.

4. Scottish Government payments are at a standard rate to all companies, for all routes, and will only vary for low carbon/emission vehicles or vehicles operating with bio diesel fuel. Local authority payments, if any, will be set by negotiation between the operator and the authority.

5. If the route operates more frequently, this may impact the number of passengers being carried and the mileage being covered therefore payments will increase accordingly. During the pandemic due to physical distancing measures, additional vehicles can operate if routes are at risk of overcrowding, and payments can be claimed for these additional vehicles.

6. Timing points are determined by the operator, subject to a requirement imposed by the Scottish
Traffic Commissioner that they should be not less than 15 minutes apart (except where two successive bus stops are more than 15 minutes apart). There is usually no restriction on the frequency of a route (unless traffic regulation conditions have been imposed in the interests of safety or to reduce congestion or pollution).

7. The Traffic Commissioner's jurisdiction in relation to local bus routes is to ensure that what is
registered with her office is adhered to. The particular route, frequency, timetable and number of
vehicles used to operate that route is for the operator to decide, with input and agreement from the
local authority where required.

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Contact

Please quote the FOI reference
Central Enquiry Unit
Email: ceu@gov.scot
Phone: 0300 244 4000

The Scottish Government
St Andrews House
Regent Road
Edinburgh
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