The Bus Service Operators Grant
(formerly known as Fuel Duty Rebate)
If you are running a local bus service you are normally eligible to claim the Bus Service Operators Grant (BSOG) which is still commonly known as the Fuel Duty Rebate (FDR).
The rebate is available on all eligible mileage – which is generally all of the service mileage and most of the dead mileage.
What are the condition for BSOG / FDR eligibility?
To qualify for a rebate a bus service must be a local bus service.
Local services (other than schools services and those for elderly or disabled – see below) will qualify for rebate if:
A) at least half the accommodation on the vehicle by means of which the service is provided is normally available to members of the general public and the service is regularly used by such members;
B) the stopping arrangements are such that -
- all the fixed stopping places (whether marked or otherwise generally recognised) are located where they are likely to be used with reasonable frequency by members of the general public, and
- in any section of the area of operation of the service where there are no fixed stopping places, the arrangements for determining when and where passengers may be taken up and set down are such that members of the general public may take advantage of them with reasonable frequency;
C) members of the general public are able to make a single journey between two stopping places (to the extent that such journeys are provided for in the registered particulars having regard to boarding and alighting restrictions) upon payment of a fare that is not a deliberate deterrent to their use of their service,
- in the case of a flexible service, the advanced booking arrangements are such that they do not act as a deterrent to members of the general public wishing to make a single journey which is otherwise provided for in the particulars of registration;
D) members of the general public are able to pay the fare at a place and in a manner that are not a deliberate deterrent to their use of the service;
E) there is not displayed on the vehicle by means of which the service is provided any sign or description intended or likely to convey the impression that the service is only available to a particular category of person;
F) arrangements are made which afford members of the general public a reasonable opportunity to inform themselves of the existence of the service, times of its operation and the places which it serves.
The above regulations reflect the introduction of new rules regarding demand responsive and flexibly routed services with effect from 23rd February 2004. Operators of local bus services in England may now claim Bus Service Operators’ Grant for demand responsive and flexibly routed services provided they are registered with the relevant Traffic Area Office as such. These regulations were amended by the Bus Service Operators’ Grant (Amendment) (England) Regulations 2004, Statutory Instrument 2004 No. 9.
Such routes may only be claimed for on a PSV311 certified claim form.
Similar arrangements have come into force in Wales with effect from 31st July 2004. This is stipulated by the Bus Service Operators’ Grant (Wales) (Amendment) Regulations 2004, Welsh Statutory Instrument 2004 No. 1827 (W.203).
These arrangements do not apply in Scotland. Demand responsive and flexibly routed services do not qualify for Bus Service Operators’ Grant in Scotland.
The main exceptions to these conditions are bus services provided or secured:
- by education authorities under section 509 of the Education Act 1996 or, in Scotland, section 51 of the Education (Scotland) Act 1980;
- for persons who are sixty years or older or who are disabled.
- they will qualify provided that some seats are available to the general public and the service is regularly used by the public;
- the stopping places to or from which the service is mainly provided (for example, a school) need not be used by the public;
- condition e. will not apply.
These services must meet conditions A to F except that:
Whats that mean in plain english?
In plain english, your service must be a local service (ie. in a specific geographic area) and have regular, known stops, which are published in advance. It must have 50% or more of the seats available to the general public to purchase tickets on demand and the fares must be reasonably priced.
If you already have dead mileage in the course of your working day eg. between one contract and another. Why not try and turn these into services?
If you need assistance in dealing with the Bus Service Operators Grant (BSOG) / Fuel Duty Rebate (FDR) then give us a call and we’ll be glad to assist.