Bus drivers across South Derbyshire have been playing a key role in keeping essential services running, in doing so they have ensured people can get to shops to get food and helped key workers including NHS staff get to work. They have also been a lifeline to those particularly living in rural areas by providing an essential service so they can get to the shops and get food.
I believe it essential that we provide support to these services so they can keep running at reduced capacity with and cope with fewer passengers traveling. In response the Government announced a funding boost across England worth £397 million. This will keep key routes running which has been a lifeline to many people including in South Derbyshire.
£167 million will be paid over 12 weeks under the COVID-19 Bus service grant and £200 million of existing funding continuing to be paid as normal regardless of whether all services are running. This is in addition to up to £30 million of extra government bus funding originally marked for new services which instead will now go to local authorities to help maintain services.
In order to qualify for the COVID-19 Bus service grant, bus operators must maintain necessary services at a sufficient level to meet the reduced demand whilst also allowing for adequate space between passengers on board. This is expected to be up to 50% of normal services.
It is vital that people stay at home to protect the NHS and save lives but where people need to go to work services like this are crucial.