Category: BSOG

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

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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


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


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May 28, 2020


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May 28, 2020


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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


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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


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If you have any questions on the CBSSG scheme then please get in touch with

BSOG & Concessionary Fares – Emergency Support for the Scottish Bus Industry

Glasgow on bus

With a significant decrease in operations and passenger numbers Transport Scotland have announced that they will support bus operators with additional BSOG and Concessionary Fares payments. They are intending to maintain payments at the levels forecast prior to the impact of COVID-19 which typically amounts to £260m per annum. The full announcement can be found here:-

We will provide further information as we receive it from Transport Scotland. In the meantime if you have any questions please contact

2019/20 Bus Service Operators Grant (BSOG) figures for England published

concessionary reimbursment

The Department for Transport has released details of the BSOG payments made to local bus and community transport operators during 2019/20. In total £194.3m was paid out.

Also published are details of payments made to local authorities since the devolution of BSOG in 2013. This amounted to £55.2m in 2019/20.

It should be noted that the values are based on the amounts paid out by the Department over the 2019/20 financial year. This can differ from an operator’s final certified claim value submitted during the year due to timing differences. Such variances will arise where an operator’s claim year does not match the DfT’s financial year or a settlement (receivable or repayment) crosses into the following year.

If you would like to view details of the BSOG payments by operator and local authority they are available to view and download from the DfT website using the following links:-

DfT BSOG payments to Operators from 2010

DfT BSOG payments to Local Authorities from 2013

Alternatively we have extracted the data by financial year into a spreadsheet which can be downloaded here:-

July 3, 2020

DfT BSOG Payments

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If you have any questions on the Department for Transport payment schedule or would like to discuss how EPM can assist with your BSOG claim please contact

BSOG (Low Carbon Vehicle Incentive) – Scotland

road in scotland


Transport for scotland logoFurther to our news item earlier this year regarding changes to the BSOG scheme in Scotland from 1 April 2019, Transport Scotland have provided some clarification on the length of time that vehicles are eligible for the Low Carbon Vehicle incentive.

Their original guidance of 29 January  stated that:

“A transitional arrangement from the current scheme will apply and is time limited to five years. The rate will be the current 10.1p/km BSOG LCV rate. As at 1 April 2019, buses that already have five or more years of claims will no longer be eligible. Buses yet to reach that five year maximum will continue to be eligible until the five year limit is reached.”

We have recently been advised by Transport Scotland that vehicle eligibility periods will be based on six-monthly claim schedules.  Therefore vehicles entered into service between April and September will be eligible for 5 years plus any additional months within that six month period up to 30th September, with the same also applying to vehicles entered into service between October and March being eligible for additional months up to 31st March.

This revised guidance will provide additional BSOG to a number of operators in Scotland. Therefore as part of our certification audit we will require the dates that each LCV entered service to ensure that operators are now receiving their full BSOG entitlement. Additionally, we will be incorporating these changes into the EPM Vehicle Fuel & Miles system so that operators can automatically generate an evaluation for this element of the grant.

If you have any questions on the above please contact us on 01527 556940 or via email.

Bus Service Operators Grant (BSOG) – DfT IT Project update / Alpha Phase

man on tablet

Department for transportation logo

Following completion of the BSOG IT Project Discovery phase last year the Alpha stage has now commenced. The project is looking at how the BSOG claim process can be digitised in order to simplify the submission of both actual and estimate claims – it is not concerned with the wider BSOG reform process or the criteria that is used to determine BSOG payments.

The Alpha phase is being undertaken by Deloitte’s who are holding user research sessions with key stakeholders around the country. EPM recently attended the South West region session and were able to provide feedback on the processes and prototype screens that had so far been created. From what we have seen operators and their certifying auditors will have the facility to import data to avoid excessive manual entry. We were informed that these will be in standard file formats (excel, csv, etc). Both the EPM Traffic and VFM systems which are used to compile BSOG returns currently support these file formats and we will provide specially configured exports to meet the DfT requirements and simplify the user experience.

We understand that this stage of the project should be concluded before the end of the year, at which point the final Beta stage will commence.

We will provide updates on the EPM website as the project progresses, however in the meantime, if you have any questions then please get in touch with us on 01527 556940 or via email.