In response to Norman Baker’s answer to a parliamentary question on 10 March on BSOG and freebus:
Norman Baker: 'My officials discovered last year that some bus services receiving bus service operators grant were not eligible under the regulations because they were free services. As a result, the grant had to stop being paid. My officials wrote to operators in November to tell them that, and I have subsequently received representations on the matter. I believe that there is a case for continuing to pay BSOG for at least some of those services, so I will explore whether we can change the powers in respect of free bus services. We will continue to allow the submission of bus subsidy claims for free services, pending a resolution of this matter. My officials have told Stagecoach and Cambridgeshire county council about this decision. I therefore hope that between them, they can reach an agreement to continue to run that important shuttle bus.'
Jonathan Bray, Director of the pteg Support Unit, said:
‘We are very pleased that Norman Baker has responded to our representations on city centre freebuses and that this vital support for these highly successful services is to be maintained. The Minister has been right to step in and ensure that funding wasn’t cut off for these services on the technicality that because no fares were charged they don’t count as local bus services. Although it is right that BSOG should only be paid for services that meet its public policy objectives we firmly believe that freebuses would fit any sensible public policy criteria for supporting local bus services and therefore we welcome this decision’
For more contact Jonathan Bray on 0113 251 7445 / 0781 804 1485