Bus operators ask for £1bn as passenger numbers drop

Bus operators are asking for a £1 billion pledge from Government to prevent tens of thousands of jobs having to go due to coronavirus.

The Confederation of Passenger Transport (CPT) is pushing for the money to help bus companies retain staff as passenger numbers drop due to Covid-19.

They believe revenues outside of the capital will fall by £50 million a week and passengers are already down by 50%.

This drop-off could rise to 75%, they say, following the decision to close schools and the request for those aged over 70 to stay at home.

The industry is asking for the Government to support up to 80% of staff costs and guarantee sources of income for companies.

They say if this happens the 100,000 drivers and 120,000 people in the supply chain can keep transporting key workers such as NHS staff and supermarket workers to their jobs.

Graham Vidler, chief executive of the CPT, said: “Bus operators are under extreme pressure and facing impossible choices over which routes they have to cut and how many stuff may have to go.

“Buses are crucial to keeping workers moving and must remain a vital backbone of public transport once this crisis is over.”

He added: “We urgently need the Government to help bus workers and their employers now to secure the future of the industry.”

Transport across the UK is expected to start running on a reduced service as increasing numbers of people stay home as the virus spreads.

On Thursday, 40 Underground stations were closed and the Waterloo and City line and Night Tube will not run from Friday, Transport for London said.

The Department for Transport has also agreed with rail operators across the country to scale back timetables from Monday.

Core services will continue to run to help people attend medical appointments and allow emergency services and NHS staff get to work.