Half price bus travel for NHS workers across the Borders

Bus travel for NHS workers in the Borders will be half price this winter thanks to our funding.

An NHS worker boards a bus at Borders General Hospital

A £58,000 award from our Smarter Choices, Smarter Places (SCSP) Open Fund will subsidise up to 13,000 day saver bus tickets until early 2021.

Scottish Borders Council applied for the funding after Borders Buses offered free travel to NHS workers through the initial lockdown period, a scheme that was well received by healthcare employees.

Now, working with Borders Buses, local bus operators and NHS Borders, the council’s passenger transport team will be able to offer a 50% discount on bus tickets bought locally by NHS staff who present their NHS ID.

Andy Carter, Director of Workforce at NHS Borders, said

We are pleased to be working alongside Scottish Borders Council, local bus operators and Paths for All on this pilot project. The scheme will benefit our key workers who rely on buses for essential travel. This initiative will make journeys more affordable and is a greener option for people, as bus travel is a sustainable form of transport.

Our staff like everyone else do need to follow measures to reduce spread of the Coronavirus so we would like to take this opportunity to remind everyone that it is vital we all continue to follow the latest Scottish Government and Transport Scotland advice (available on their websites) whilst Coronavirus is still circulating in Scotland.

"The FACTS that will help all of us to stay safe and protect each other are:

Face coverings in enclosed spaces, including public transport
Avoid crowded places
Clean hands and surfaces regularly
Two metre distancing; and
Self-isolate and book a test if you have symptoms."

Lee Young, operations manager at Borders Buses, said: “Along with other bus operators in the Borders, we have been proud to transport NHS Borders staff to and from work throughout this pandemic. It’s great news NHS Borders and Scottish Borders Council have secured funding to offer those NHS Borders staff traveling from the Borders 50% off their single and return tickets. We hope the pilot is a success and it encourages more people to safely and responsibly travel by bus.”

The grant is one of the most recent awards to be issued from the SCSP Open Fund which has now funded 200 projects since 2018.

Managed by us and supported by the Scottish Government’s Active Travel budget, the fund aims to cut Scotland's carbon emissions, improve air quality, reverse the trend towards sedentary lifestyles and tackle health inequalities by offering grants to public, community and third sector organisations with ideas about how to change travel behaviour.

Ian Findlay CBE, our Chief Officer said: “We are delighted that this most recent Open Fund grant will support NHS workers travelling by bus over the winter months.
“It’s great to see a project like this which not only reduces daily car journeys, but also supports NHS staff at this crucial time.
“I’d encourage other public, community, and third sector organisations to apply for a grant from our Open Fund. With the expertise and guidance of our team, we can help them make their active and/or sustainable travel project ideas a reality.”

For more information on how the Scottish Government is working to build an Active Nation, visit www.transport.gov.scot/activenation

For full details about the Smarter Choices, Smarter Places (SCSP) Open Fund, including information on how to apply for a grant or previous awardees, click here.