The Department for Transport consultation on changes to the bus subsidy system includes proposals to change the Bus Service Operators Grant (BSOG).
It is likely to be of interest to many rural communities and organisations due to the potential impact on bus subsidies for rural and urban routes.
The consultation follows a Green Light for Better Buses document which set out a series of reforms to local bus subsidy arrangements and regulations in England outside London.
The government says its "carefully formulated" proposals will attract more people on to buses, ensure better value for taxpayers and give local transport authorities more influence over bus networks.
This consultation paper seeks views on how the subsidy proposals set out in Green Light for Better Buses are to be implemented.
In particular, the consultation covers how changes to BSOG payments are to be implemented.
The BSOG is the main form of bus subsidy funded by the Government and is paid at present to the companies which operate bus services.
Reforms to the BSOG set out in Green Light for Better Buses include:
1. devolution of BSOG to local authorities where the funding relates to services they support – i.e. tendered services – to allow decisions to be taken locally on how it should be spent;
2. creation of a new local government fund – Better Bus Areas – to encourage local transport authorities and bus companies to work closely together to improve services and boost passenger numbers;
3. devolution to Transport for London or the Greater London Authority of the BSOG paid to London bus operators who operate services under contract to TfL; and
4. tightening the existing rules defining which bus services can claim BSOG, so that the funding is put to the best possible use
The deadline for responses to the consultation is 12 November.