18 February 2009

Affordable bus fares

A further £4 million funding package will help the bus industry maintain affordable fares for passengers.

The money will be used to offset fuel duty increases by matching the 2p increase announced by the Chancellor in the pre-budget report last December.

Transport Minister Stewart Stevenson said:

"Large increases in fuel prices over the last 12 months have had an adverse effect on many of our businesses and communities. The bus industry has not been immune from these effects.

"In order to mitigate the impact of the fuel duty increase we are giving bus companies this extra money to help ensure that the costs are not passed on to passengers through increased fares.

"This new funding comes on top of the considerable support we already give the bus industry which including the £40 million from local authorities amounts to some £280 million per year. This investment is intended to help the industry drive down fare costs, encourage more routes and enable more older and disabled people to access these important services."

Gavin Booth, Chairman of Bus Users UK, welcomed the increase, he said:

"Anything that helps to keep bus fares down in these difficult financial times is a great benefit to bus passengers. The increase to the Bus Service Operators Grant is another indication of the Scottish Government's positive attitude towards the users who make more than 500 million bus journeys in Scotland each year."

The Bus Service Operators Grant provides bus operators with a rebate of almost 79 per cent of the fuel duty they have paid. The aim of BSOG is principally to benefit passengers. It does this by helping operators to keep their fares down and to enable them to run services that might not otherwise be commercially viable.

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