Last reviewed 22 July 2021

Bus operators across the country will benefit from £226.5 million in government funding to help ensure they continue to run vital services 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 latest news came as the Department for Transport (DfT) announced it has 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 across England (see “DfT publishes business case guidance for ZEBRA scheme”).

The following local transport authorities have been selected under the fast track process to progress to the next stage of the competition:

  • Cambridgeshire and Peterborough Combined Authority

  • Kent County Council

  • Leicester City Council

  • Milton Keynes Borough Council

  • Warrington Borough Council 

  • West Midlands Combined Authority

Baroness Vere said: “Buses are the lifeblood of our communities, helping us get to work, school and to see friends and family. 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.”

The new recovery funding follows the current emergency support package, which is due to end in August after providing more than £1 billion to keep bus services running throughout the pandemic.

It will be provided on a formula basis, ensuring the sector can begin to return to commerciality. The funding will, the DfT has stressed, be the final tranche of Covid-19-related support provided to the sector.