Building on an agreement reached in January 2013, Transport Scotland and Scotland’s bus industry have agreed terms for reimbursing operators for providing concessionary travel from April 2015.

The new deal reflects expected growth in demand, fares and costs, and falling fuel prices.

In welcoming this news Falkirk West MSP Michael Matheson said:

“Concessionary travel is a key part of the Scottish Government’s social wage and makes a real difference to many of the national entitlement card holders throughout Falkirk district, including our elderly and disabled.

“Research shows the National Concessionary Travel Scheme is greatly valued by constituents. They have also told me that it helps them financially and gives them a greater sense of independence, reduces feelings of isolation and gives them more confidence in their own ability to travel.

“The £250 million the Scottish Government provide every year for the bus industry is not only helping the industry provide services and invest in new greener fleets, but also benefits concessionary travel scheme users by an average of around £250 every year, which helps constituents as well.

“The latest reimbursement terms are based on a formula agreed with the industry in 2013. They will help provide stability for the industry, with recent energy forecasts also taken into account to help manage the costs of the scheme which is welcome news for local taxpayers.”

The current reimbursement rate is 58.1% of the adult single fare, with a budget of £192 million.

Based on the agreed formula and recent authoritative forecasts on industry costs and consumer prices, and following technical discussions and agreement with the Confederation of Passenger Transport (CPT), the new rates will be 57.1% in 2015/16 and 56.9% in 2016/17. The budgets for each year will be £202 million and £212 million respectively.