Category: BSOG

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.

DATA IS AT THE HEART

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.

Powering the future of your bus operations

Grow patronage, boost revenue, and drive operational efficiency.

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.

CBSSG Restart – details of extra £254m funding available for the bus industry

calculations

Following the announcement earlier this week that the DfT would provide an additional £254m to assist operators in increasing service levels over the coming months, details of the scheme have now been published.

In summary:

  • CBSSG Restart replaces the existing CBSSG scheme and will be backdated to 12 May.
  • It is available to operators of commercial eligible local services.
  • Operators who didn’t claim under the original CBSSG scheme can receive funding under CBSSG Restart. New claimants must register by 7 June.
  • Payments will be made every four weeks and the scheme will initially be in place for 12 weeks, although this could be extended.
  • Operators will have to supply details of live commercial kilometres operated and passenger numbers every four weeks. This information is readily available for those operators using the EPM Depot Performance System (DPS).
  • An open book reconciliation process will take place every 12 weeks and at the end of the scheme to ensure that operators have not made an operating profit from the scheme.
  • A template will be provided in due course for operators to claim separately for restart costs, PPE, safe operation costs, etc.

As the first CBBSG scheme draws to a close on 8 June the DfT have also provided details of the open book reconciliation exercise that will take place in June to close off this scheme. This includes a list of specific revenue and costs items that should be included / excluded.

Full details of the guidance issued by the DfT covering the above points can be found here:

May 28, 2020

DfT-CBSSG-Restart.pdf

 Download Document

May 28, 2020

TCs-Appendix-1-Reconciliation-Submission-Form-1.xlsx

 Download Document

May 28, 2020

TCs-Appendix-2-Reconciliation-Worked-Example-1-1.xlsx

 Download Document

If you have any questions on the CBSSG Restart scheme, then please get in touch via email or on 01527 556940. Additionally, the EPM Support Team are available to assist users of DPS in providing the data returns as required by the DfT.

DfT BSOG Payments – COVID-19

british pound

The Department for Transport has provided some welcome news for the bus industry confirming that they will pay BSOG on eligible services that were not operated due to COVID-19. To provide operators with much needed cashflow they have also confirmed that BSOG estimate payments will continue to be made on the basis that operations had continued as planned, without any reduction for service changes.

Department for transportation logo

Details of the full announcement can be found below.

Many operators will be currently processing their eligible kilometres based on revised schedules reflecting their reduced operations. As part of the certification audit EPM will ensure that the necessary amendments are made so that the mileage claimed reflects what would have operated in the absence of the COVID-19 outbreak. This will be a relatively simple exercise for users of the EPM Traffic system – the weekly mileages can be rolled forward using the previous schedule that was in place. For other operators we will advise on the best course of action prior to the certification audit.

If you have any questions on the announcement made by the DfT or on the BSOG scheme in general please contact us on 01527 556940 or via email.

March 26, 2020

BSOG-letter-to-operators-COVID-19-Final

 Download Document

COVID-19 BUS SERVICE SUPPORT GRANT (CBSSG)

Lady with covid mask on bus

An additional £167m for the bus industry

Great news for the bus industry — the DfT have announced that there will be extra support through the COVID-19 Bus Service Support Grant (CBSSG). This temporary funding of £167m is in addition to the increased amounts of BSOG to pre-COVID-19 levels previously announced by the Department.

In summary:

  • Available to operators of eligible local bus services who are currently running between 40% to 50% of scheduled commercial mileage for a typical non-school week.
  • Payments will be available for three months starting from 17 March 2020.
  • The initial payment will be based on 2017/18 data submitted to the Department, with the following formula used:

  • By the end of the month operators will need to provide a list of services (including registration numbers), the live commercial kilometres operated and passenger details (split by fare-paying and concessions). The same information will be required for 2019 as a baseline.
  • Operators will not be permitted to achieve an operating margin through CBSSG funding.

Full details of the letter sent out to operators can be found here.

April 7, 2020

200406-CBSSG-Letter-to-Operators-Final-as-sent.pdf

 Download Document

If you have any questions on the CBSSG scheme then please get in touch with epm@epm-bus.com.