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FirstGroup Welcomes Addl. Funding From DfT, Scottish Government For Bus Industry

FirstGroup plc (FGROY.PK,FGROF.PK,FGP.L), a provider of transport services in the UK and North America, Monday said it welcomes the extension of funding from the Department for Transport or DfT, as well as the Scottish Government.

The DfT funding will support the provision of vital services by regional bus operators in England during the coronavirus pandemic.

The new funding round is 218.4 million pounds for the industry under the COVID-19 Bus Service Support Grant Restart or CBSSG Restart programme. It extends the arrangements previously announced at the end of May for the next eight weeks.

Further, the Government has confirmed that rolling funding of up to 27.3 million pounds per week will continue to be made available under the programme thereafter, until such time as it is no longer needed.

The company noted that First Bus operations across England have increased operated mileage to almost 90% of pre-pandemic levels from about.40% , with passenger volumes increasing to c.40% since the low point from c.10%.

The company also noted the Scottish government's announcement of additional expenditure of up to 68 million pounds to extend to November 8 the similar funding scheme it has in place for Scotland's bus operators.

FirstGroup Chief Executive Matthew Gregory said, "The further funding packages confirmed by the UK and Scottish Governments enable us to keep people travelling safely on our essential services, allowing social distancing to be maintained on our vehicles. Bus networks are vitally important to local economies, both now as people return to education and workplaces, and in the future as they offer a sustainable transport alternative to the car."

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