Category: BSOG

Visit us at the ALBUM Conference 2023

Join us, EPM and Omnibus, on 25 & 26 April 2023 at the Sheraton Grand Hotel & Spa, Edinburgh, for ALBUM Conference 2023.

This year’s theme is the changing face of our industry focusing on four pillars within this – policy, customers, products, and colleagues. The event will be a celebration of all areas of the industry looking at both the present and future of the industry, and how we can navigate the challenges and maximise opportunity.

Visit us on stand 37 for product demos and speak with Software Director, Nick Brookes; BSOG Director, Matthew Hanlon; Account Manager, Penny Johnson; Omnibus’ Founder, Peter Crichton; and Product Owner, Aiden Proctor about our software solutions and consultancy services, including:


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Sheraton Grand Hotel & Spa
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EPM improves White Bus Services BSOG claim by 23%

White Bus, part of the Rowgate Group, was founded in 1921 and is Berkshire’s oldest independent bus and coach operator. Operating around East Berkshire & North Surrey, they have a fleet of 35 vehicles providing bus services and school and coach contract work to the community.

The challenge

Previously, White Bus had their Bus Service Operators Grant (BSOG) claims certified by their statutory accountant, but with an increasing workload and a growing business, they found the process was taking up valuable resource and time.

 “I’d go through the terms and conditions, and it was challenging to understand what we could claim for, as the wording can be subjective. It would take up a lot of my time and I felt that our claim was not being maximised.”

-Simon Rowland, Chief Executive Officer at White Bus

The solution

White Bus was recommended to speak with EPM Bus Solutions about their BSOG auditing service.

During the audit, the EPM BSOG auditing team discovered that the operator had vehicles that qualified for the low carbon incentive which they had not been claiming for and the AVL & Smartcard incentives. The team reworked the fuel consumption data to account for odometer changes.

 “The claiming process has been very straightforward with the help of EPM Bus Solutions. They know the industry, the systems the industry use, and where to look for the data. The BSOG auditing team was helpful throughout the process, and I look forward to continuing the relationship with them.”

– Simon Rowland, Chief Executive Officer at White Bus


The operator received a full audit report, including an evaluation and the completed PSV311 claim form. The report included recommendations such as improving the control and housekeeping over the fuel issues and simplifying the reporting.

The results

The EPM BSOG auditing team increased the claim for White Bus by 23%, saving them valuable time so they could concentrate on other areas of their growing business.

“The EPM auditing service is value for money, our claim has increased, and even when taking fees into consideration, there is still a significant increase in our claim. I recommend all small and independent bus operators to seek the help of the EPM auditing team.”

– Simon Rowland, Chief Executive Officer at White Bus

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Roberts Travel Group BSOG claim increased by 17.5% with EPM auditing services

Claiming Bus Service Operators Grant (BSOG) funding can be a complex and time-consuming task for an operator, as well as challenging to know whether they have claimed for everything they are entitled to, which was the case for Roberts Travel Group.

Roberts Travel Group is an independent operator founded in 1995 with a fleet of 85 coaches and buses. Based in Leicestershire, they provide a variety of services including coach holidays and day trips, private hire, school services, and park & ride services.

For an independent operator like Roberts Travel Group, the BSOG claiming process can be time-consuming and takes up valuable resources. Previously, Roberts Travel Group had submitted its own BSOG claims that were audited and certified by its statutory accountant. As the scheme has developed and the rules have become more complex, they found the process more difficult.

Jayne Sabido, Finance Director at Roberts Travel Group, said, “the rules became increasingly difficult to understand, we knew the basics, but we were unaware of the extra things we could claim for. We used accountants in the past for auditing, but it wasn’t their field of expertise.”


Following the initial call and a review of previous submissions, Matthew Hanlon, BSOG Director at EPM Bus Solutions, identified areas where they were underclaiming. Roberts Travel Group were unaware that they could claim for their tendered services, which is a common misconception. The EPM BSOG team also identified several vehicles that qualified for the low carbon incentive that had not been included in previous claims, and they reworked fuel consumption data to account for odometer changes.

Jayne Sabido commented, “The EPM BSOG Auditing team are amazing. The whole process from start to finish was smooth, they explained each stage of the process to us and handled the correspondence with the Department for Transport. This meant we could focus on other areas of the business, and we were confident the BSOG claim was in safe hands. I would recommend EPM Bus Solutions to all operators, no matter how big or small, who is struggling with their BSOG claims.”

EPM Bus Solutions provided a full audit report, including an evaluation and the completed PSV311 claim form, which was signed and dated by Roberts Travel Group. After the submission, the Department for Transport raised some standard queries as part of their processing routine, which the EPM BSOG team responded to on behalf of Roberts Travel Group with no changes to the figures as certified.

Matthew Hanlon, “It’s common for areas to be missed when submitting BSOG claims, especially for small and independent operators who may not have the resources. EPM Bus Solutions has over 30 years of experience in BSOG auditing, and we are dedicated to ensuring all claims are compliant, accurate, and maximised for our clients.”


Through EPM Bus Solutions, Roberts Travel Group increased their BSOG claim by 17.5% as well as freeing up valuable management time to focus on other business priorities.

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Supporting the industry to Bus Back Better

The UK Government has launched Bus Back Better, the long-awaited National Bus Strategy for England, and it promises a bright future for the industry. It sets out an ambitious vision that will revolutionise the way in which local bus services are provided.

Operators and local transport authorities will work closely together to create a new environment that will spur on genuine improvements for passengers. Meanwhile, for areas that choose to press ahead with franchising their local bus services will now have the means and guidance to allow that to happen.


There’s little doubt that high quality planning will play a key role in meeting the ambition contained within Bus Back Better. The bus strategy calls for high quality integrated public transport. It will see what are today competing operators harmonising their networks and the creation of multi-operator, multi-modal ticketing. This will be incredibly important in helping attracting new passengers to the bus.

Traditionally instigating and managing such a scheme was incredibly complicated but at EPM we have a strong background in this area – we have audited a number of existing schemes for some years, working to ensure operators receive fair reimbursement. As the importance of multi-operator schemes grows and becomes a growing percentage of the average operator’s income, it’s going to become incredibly important that this process is managed fairly and transparently, backed by the very latest usage data.

“It’s important there’s trust,” says Nick Brookes, EPM’s Software Director. “As the value of these schemes from an income point of view increases, the operators need to have the confidence that they are getting a fair share of that pot. Our solutions can take ticket machine data from the operator, off bus sales data and scrutinise the usage and ensure the resulting apportionment of revenue is transparent and fair.”…

Read the full article from Passenger Transport: Beginning the Bus Revolution: Building on the National Bus Strategy for England.

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Changes to BSOG claims processes

11 August 2021 – Following the outbreak of the coronavirus pandemic, the Department for Transport made a commitment that BSOG would continue to be paid to operators at pre-Covid levels for as long as CBSSG payments were being made.

With the CBSSG scheme due to end on 31 August 2021, the Department have now written to operators to advise that following this date they will need to adhere to the pre-Covid BSOG scheme rules.

In effect:

  • Certified claims – all PSV311 submissions should include actual data from 1 September – this will apply to both the eligible kilometres and fuel consumption sections of the certified claim form.

For EPM clients we will advise on the presentation of the PSV311 in advance of your certification audit.

  • Estimate claims – for estimate claims submitted from 1 September, the data should be based on the operations that are expected to be run over the forthcoming year and not pre-Covid operations, as has been the case whilst CBSSG has been paid. For those operators that have already submitted estimate claims prior to this date, they will continue to receive payments on account as previously advised by the Department.

Users of the EPM Traffic system can continue to utilise the estimate function to prepare your BSOG estimate using the current schedule. Where EPM process the estimate on your behalf, we will take into account this guidance.

  • School services – where operators amended registrations from ‘normal stopping’ to ‘school or works’ to comply with social distancing requirements during the pandemic, they were able to continue to claim BSOG. However, this dispensation ceases from 1 September. To receive BSOG for these services going forward, they will need to be registered as ‘normal stopping’. The Department recognise that there is not much time to effect these changes, so they will accept evidence that operators have request a change in the registration particulars in advance of 1 September.

Operators should review all registrations and advise the Traffic Area Office of those which are no longer required to be operated as ‘schools or works’. All correspondence should be kept in case evidence is required for the Department when processing your claim.

EPM are the leading experts in the certification of BSOG claims, ensuring that all claims are accurate, compliant and maximised. If you would like to discuss how we can help you with your claim, then get in touch for a free consultation.

Read the full announcement: DfT BSOG guidance

Take the hassle out of claiming

We ensure that your BSOG claim is accurate, compliant and maximised

BSOG payments to local authorities and bus operators announced

30 April 2021 – The Department for Transport have published Bus Service Operators Grant payments to bus operators and local authorities.

The document has been updated to list the details of claimants and the amounts paid up to 2020 – 2021.

Download our analysis of the payments: BSOG payments 2020-21

Read the full announcements:

Bus Service Operators Grant payments to English operators from 2010 onwards

Bus Service Operators Grant payments to local authorities from 2013 onwards

As the leading experts in BSOG certification, we know what it takes to produce complete and compliant claims — and we can prove it. We certify over 90% of all UK BSOG grant funding each year.

With our auditing service, you’ll get an estimate submission to smooth out cashflow, an audit to uncover and rectify issues before they cause delays, and a complete, compliant and certified BSOG claim to ensure prompt and full payment.

If you have any questions on the announcement, or on the scheme, please complete the online contact form or call 01527 556940.

Take the hassle out of claiming

We ensure that your BSOG claim is accurate, compliant and maximised

BSOG for Home to School Services – DfT announcement

lady with covid mask in bus

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.

lady with covid mask in bus

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

Read the DfT Home to School Services and BSOG eligibility letter

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.

The guide on how to rebuild profits in a post-Covid-19 world for bus operators

EPM eBook for Bus Operators

Covid-19 has changed how we live, work and travel, and bus operators have to adapt to ensure future profitability. The eBook provides a guide on how you can drive revenue during these uncertain times… 2021 and beyond.

EPM eBook for Bus Operators

UK bus services have been hugely impacted by the Covid-19 virus, with patronage dropping almost 90% in the early stages of the pandemic and social distancing measures becoming mandatory on all public transport.

As the government starts to lift restrictions, it is now vital to understand the changing demands of the industry so that you can discover ways to encourage passengers back on board.

From analysing your data to see causes of disruption, to looking at additional monetary streams such as concessionary fares reimbursement and Bus Service Operators Grant (BSOG) claims, this guide will identify ways in which you can improve your current services and boost your profits for the year ahead.

It includes ways to:

  • Investigate route profitability
  • Improve customer service
  • Drive more revenue
  • Fine-tune your operations
  • Empower business decisions
  • Get the right tools and expertise

The road to success for bus operators in uncertain times

DfT – New BSOG Guidance Issued

Bus on snowy street

From the outset of the coronavirus pandemic the Department for Transport made a commitment to operators that BSOG would continue to be paid at pre-Covid levels. They have now issued guidance as to how operators should complete their claim forms on a “no better, no worse” basis.

The guidance covers the two main elements of the claim:-

    • Eligible Kilometres – Operators should continue to report the actual live and dead kilometres run over the claim year. Where services have been affected by the Covid pandemic from 23 March 2020 the mileage should be estimated for the remainder of the year on the basis of the pre-Covid actual kilometres. This includes those services that have either been reduced or cancelled. The additional kilometres, that would have otherwise operated, should be presented on a supplementary page.

For users of the EPM Traffic system the BSOG Estimate function can be used to forecast the mileage that would have operated using pre-Covid operations.

    • Fuel Consumption Factor – Following the initial lockdown in April there was a noticeable improvement in operators fuel efficiency with our clients reporting average increases in fleet mpg’s of around 25%. This was largely attributable to fewer cars being on the roads and is certainly a great argument for reducing congestion levels in our towns & cities. However, due to the underlying calculation of BSOG entitlement, such an improvement in fuel efficiency is detrimental to the value, which would make operators “worse off” during the lockdown period.

We informed the Department of this issue, which they have now addressed in the guidance. Section 3 of the PSV311 will require actual kilometres and fuel issues to be calculated over the claim period. However, due to the irregular kilometres per litre (kpl) that will be reported, the DfT are allowing operators to base the fuel consumption element of the claim over a pre-Covid period. This approach will ensure a realistic kpl factor is used in the evaluation.

Due to the additional requirements and the impact of the pandemic the Department are extending the statutory deadline of 3 months from the end of the claim period to 4 months. Should operators fail to submit by the extended deadline the claim will be rejected.

EPM are the leading experts in the certification of BSOG claims, ensuring that all claims they certify are accurate, compliant and maximised. If you would like to discuss how we can help you with your claim, then get in touch.

If you’d like to read the DfT BSOG guidance, you can find it here.

CBSSG Restart scheme extended

bus stop

An additional £27.3m per week for operators

As operators look to increase service levels ahead of schools returning in September the DfT have announced that the Covid-19 Bus Service Support Grant (CBSSG) Restart scheme is to be extended.

In their press release the Department have guaranteed payments of up to £218.4m over the next eight weeks, with rolling funding of up to £27.3m per week afterwards. This additional funding will continue until it is no longer needed.

The press release can be viewed here – DfT CBSSG press release 08/08/20

In a separate letter to operators ahead of the press release the Department set out conditions to the scheme extension, including:

  • Whilst receiving CBSSG, operators should not make a profit
  • Service levels should increase to 100% of pre-Covid levels for September
  • Operators need to consult with Local Authorities on service level requirements
  • Bus timetable changes must be communicated to passengers

Revised terms and conditions will be issued shortly, however the Department noted that they will for the most part stay the same.

Finally the DfT also confirmed their commitment to pay BSOG at pre-Covid levels and reiterated that LTA’s continue to make payments to operators for tendered services, concessionary travel and home to school transport at pre-pandemic amounts.

The letter to operators can be found on the link below.

August 10, 2020

DfT CBSSG Restart Letter to Operators 07/08/20

 Download Document

If you have any questions on the announcements made by the DfT or on the BSOG / CBSSG schemes in general, please contact via email or on 01527 556940.