12 March 2021 – Due to Covid-19 many operators have had to restrict the number of passengers on board their vehicles in order to comply with social distancing requirements. As a result, many school services that had previously been available to all members of the general public became “closed-door” when schools & colleges returned in September 2020, meaning they could now only carry students. Such “closed-door” services are not eligible for BSOG.
Initially this was not thought to be an issue as at the outbreak of the pandemic the Department for Transport (DfT) stated that operators could continue to claim BSOG at pre-Covid levels. However, in the case of services which had become “closed-door”, the BSOG Policy Team advised that they would continue to apply the BSOG eligibility criteria and that the services would no longer be eligible for BSOG from the date of the change.
After an internal consultation the DfT have issued guidance confirming that BSOG can now be claimed for “closed-door” Home to School services. The main points from the guidance are as follows:-
- Commercial school services that became “closed-door” from 1 September 2020 due to C19 can be treated as eligible from this date.
- Operators must complete a survey to provide information about these school services – to be submitted by 26 March 2021.
- For those claims that have already been submitted with year ends after 1 September 2020 then a retrospective claim can be made for the services – details to follow from DfT.
- Due to the short term nature of this arrangement closed-door services should not be included on current or future estimates
Download a copy of the DfT guidance and the Home to School survey.
If you have any questions on the announcement made by the DfT or on the BSOG / CBSSG schemes, please complete the online contact form or call 01527 556940.