The CTA has encouraged members to ensure they take advantage of the latest BSOG funding increase
CT Operators in England will benefit from a 60% increase in funding through the Bus Service Operators Grant (BSOG) following an announcement by the Transport Secretary on 23 October. The Community Transport Association (CTA) praised the move, saying that the funding is a core part of a community operator’s income and helps to keep fares down and services running.
In its own recent studies, the CTA saw the crucial impact of the funding on the sustainability of community transport services, and noted that while some operators have managed to return to their 2019/2020 mileage levels, nearly half of them are projected to fall short of reaching 90% of their pre-pandemic capacity by the end of 2023/2024. This demonstrates the continued significant need for support within the sector, the Association says, with four in five operators expressing a requirement for additional support through the Bus Service Operators Grant (BSOG).
Chief Executive of the Community Transport Association Victoria Armstrong said: “Community Transport plays a vital role in connecting people in our communities to health care appointments and social opportunities. We welcome DfT’s announcement increasing the funding for Community Transport organisations and are pleased that the DfT has listened to the needs of the Community Transport sector and responded by increasing this essential funding.”
Louise Currie, CEO, Lydney Dial-a-Ride xplained how the extra funding will support her organisation: “What fantastic news to hear the uplift in the BSOG. This grant is a vital funding stream for our Dial a Ride service and at a time of rising costs this increase is very welcome. This ensures we can continue to help those who are unable to access other forms of transport remain active within their local communities.”
Following the Government’s pledge of £150 million of redirected funding to improve buses in the North and Midlands, the CTA says it is also committed to ensuring that community transport receives fair and equitable funding within the upcoming plans and will be working alongside its members to ensure that DfT and aocal authorities consider sustainable funding to support the community transport sector.
Marie Monk-Hawksworth, CEO of the Friendly Bus, commented: “We are pleased that the DfT have acknowledged the support needed to sustain community transport and this additional funding will help towards covering the increased running costs we face. There is a continued increase in demand for our services and we would welcome the DfT working with CTA and operators to ensure there is meaningful and sustainable funding for the sector”
The CTA is encouraging all eligible Section 19 operators to apply for the additional funding and will be holding a drop-in funding session for its members in January to advise on applications to the scheme, supported by grant officers from the DfT’s BSOG team.