Coronavirus: Second Bus Operator Financial Assistance Scheme

News article

Second financial support scheme opens to private coach and bus operators in Northern Ireland

The Department for Infrastructure (DfI) has opened a further financial assistance scheme for bus and coach operators.

This second scheme will cover the period from 1 October 2020 until 31 March 2021.  This scheme will provide financial assistance to bus and coach operators for ongoing overhead costs and expenses which they have incurred.

Eligible private coach and bus operators will receive £8,000 for the first vehicle and £4,450 for each additional vehicle in their fleet, or the actual loss, whichever is lower.

Scheme eligibility

To be eligible to apply for the scheme each private coach or bus operator must:

  • Hold a valid Northern Ireland bus operator licence and their main business activity needs to be the carriage of passengers and their luggage by road for reward. 
  • Demonstrate a loss of income due to COVID-19 over the period October 2020 to March 2021 of at least 40% compared to previous years.
  • Provide evidence of their income from October to March 2018-19, 2019-20 and 2020-21, and expenditure only for October 2020 to March 2021, and have this signed off by a qualified accountant.

The following are excluded from the scope of this scheme:

  • Translink
  • Education Authority
  • Any operator that has received funding from DfI under the Transport Act 2011 in the period beginning on 6 April 2020 and ending on 5 April 2021.
  • A bus operator licence holder where the transportation of passengers is ancillary to their main business, this includes but is not limited to, childcare facilities and car park shuttle services.
  • Bus operators that do not hold a Northern Ireland licence.

You can find more information on the DfI website about scheme eligibility criteria, including:

  • state aid
  • finance eligibility
  • exclusions

How to apply

You can find full guidance on the scheme, the application process and download the required forms from the DfI website.

Bus Operator Financial Assistance Scheme - apply online

The scheme is open to applications until midnight on 9 April 2021.

Queries relating to applications can be sent to

First published: 12 March 2021