Ruth Maguire MSP has welcomed additional funding of £63 million to support bus services from 17 August until 8 November.

The funding from the Scottish Government is to cover the expected loss of fare-paying passenger revenue for bus operators due to continued compliance with physical distancing guidelines and reduced capacity in the midst of efforts to suppress Covid-19.

This follows funding support of £46.7 million which is being provided to increase bus services since 22 June.

Bus travel accounts for around three quarters of all public transport journeys in Scotland, with schools reopening this week, demand on the network is expected to significantly increase.

The SNP MSP said: “Many of us rely on buses to get to work, health services and to visit family and friends. The extension of funding for bus operators to keep everybody moving is an essential step to support Scotland’s economy at this time.

“With that in mind, I’d also like to encourage those who are able to consider continuing to walk and cycle to your destinations for your health, the environment and to ease pressure on the transport network at a time where traffic volume will increase with the return of children and young people to schools.”

Cabinet Secretary for Transport, Infrastructure and Connectivity Michael Matheson said: “While I will continue to do what I can to support our bus industry and our public transport network – it is important that the public continue to leave space on public transport for those that need it most.

“If you need to travel on public transport, see if you can avoid peak times and try to plan ahead. Many larger bus operators have developed new applications to help you do this.

“That type of innovation at rapid pace is entirely characteristic of our transport operators and staff. Again, I would like to thank them for all the work they are doing help keep people moving and in helping passengers to plan ahead where they can during this public health emergency.”

Paul White, Director for CPT in Scotland said:

“CPT Scotland are pleased the Scottish Government has recognised the continued role the bus network plays in helping people return to work safely.

“This funding will enable the delivery of a comprehensive bus network in the coming weeks and months. The funding announced today will be critical to ensuring the right level of resources are in place to serve communities with the bus services they need.”

Guidance on how and when to travel is available on the Transport Scotland website: https://www.transport.gov.scot/travel-guidance-during-covid-19/

To plan your public transport journey visit www.travelinescotland.com