The Bus Service Operators Grant (BSOG) is a discretionary grant given to eligible community transport operators to help them cover some of their fuel costs. The grant amount depends on the fuel used to run eligible services. BSOG aims to:
Keep running costs down for community transport operators.
Support the operation of services that might otherwise be financially unviable or canceled.
To qualify for the grant, community transport operators in England must hold a section 19 permit and provide evidence that they offer transport services in eligible categories. These eligible services primarily serve:
Individuals aged 60 and above.
Those receiving specific government benefits (e.g., Income Support, Universal Credit, Jobseekers Allowance, Employment and Support Allowance).
People experiencing social exclusion due to various factors (e.g., unemployment, poverty, ill health).
Those who believe it’s unsafe for them to use public passenger transport services.
Carers or individuals under 16 accompanying the above groups.
BSOG rates vary depending on the type of fuel used, with different rates for diesel, biodiesel, bioethanol, biofuels, unleaded petrol, natural gas, and other road fuel gases. The rates are typically expressed in pence per litre or kilogram.
BSOG may offer incentives such as:
An 8% increase for vehicles with operational smartcard systems.
An additional 2% increase for vehicles equipped with automatic vehicle location equipment.
An extra 6p per kilometre for low carbon emission buses (LCEB) meeting specific criteria.
A 22p per kilometre rate for zero emission buses (ZEB) with no internal combustion engine.
Operators can claim BSOG on either a six-monthly or annual basis, depending on their preference, with some flexibility based on the timing of their section 19 permits.
Additionally, as of April 2023, operators running services with vehicles weighing up to 3.5 tonnes can claim a ZEB incentive without requiring a ZEB certificate or summary sheet, provided they meet certain criteria and provide necessary documentation.
Certainly, having a BSOG number and grant can facilitate access to other beneficial schemes provided by the Department for Transport (DfT). This is because being a recipient of the BSOG grant demonstrates an operator’s commitment to providing essential community transport services and complying with DfT regulations. This positive track record can make it easier for community transport operators to access additional schemes, funding, or support programs offered by the DfT or related government agencies. These additional schemes may include initiatives to promote sustainability, improve transport infrastructure, or enhance the quality of community transportation services.
If your organisation qualifies for the BSOG grant you could fill the application here and email the form to firstname.lastname@example.org .
If you have any queries please contact the DfT BSOG team directly on 0207 944 858, or email the CTA development Officer for your region email@example.com
Additional information on the 60% increase announcement from DfT
In October 2023 the DfT announced a 60% increase in the funding available with operators getting £1.60 for every £1 claimed.
Since 2020, CTOs claiming BSOG have been guaranteed a minimum payment equivalent to what they received in the 2019-20 financial year. Claims higher than the 2019-20 financial year were paid in full. This uplift will continue to apply for claims up to the end of June 2023.
For claims from 1 July 2023, they will apply a 60% uplift, removing the parity with 2019-20 funding. This will uplift will cover the period July 2023 to end of March 2025 and provides a generous support for CTOs without placing an administrative burden on operators who will continue to submit their claim using the normal process. The payment rate will increase from £0.35 per litre of diesel to £0.56 per litre, so for every £1 claimed, operators will now receive £1.60.
CTOs operating under a Section 22 permit are eligible for support through the Bus Recovery Grant for claims until the end of June 2023, and through the Bus Service Operators Grant Plus (BSOG+) from July 2023 to the end of March 2025.
DfT have set out below some FAQs on the BSOG uplift for CTOs, if you have any further specific questions that have not been captured below, please contact the team at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Frequently Asked Questions for Community Transport Operators
About the uplifts
How long will the BSOG uplifts run for?
Since 2020, CTOs claiming BSOG have been guaranteed a minimum payment equivalent to what they received in the 2019-20 financial year. Claims higher than the 2019-20 were paid in full. This uplift will continue for claims up to the end of June 2023.
For claims from 1 July 2023, a new uplift will be applied, removing the parity with 2019-20 funding. Instead, we will apply a 60% uplift to claim amounts between July 2023 and the end of March 2025.
DfT, at its discretion, will consider new evidence if an operator believes their payment has not been calculated correctly. Note that the final decision as to whether a grant will be paid in particular cases remains a matter for the Secretary of State’s discretion.
Community Transport Association UK is a charitable company limited by guarantee. Registered in Cardiff no. 1985361 Registered office: 12 Hilton Street M1 1JF. Registered as a charity in England and Wales no. 1002222. Charity Registered in Scotland No. SC038518.