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.