StockMarketWire.com - Transport company FirstGroup said it welcomed the government's eight-week extension of funding for the bus industry that had allowed it to increase bus service capacity as lockdown measures eased.

The new funding round of £218.4m for the industry under the Covid-19 'Bus Service Support Grant Restart' programme extended arrangements previously announced at the end of May for the next eight weeks.

The government also had confirmed that rolling funding of up to £27.3m per week would continue to be made available under the programme thereafter, until such time as it was no longer needed.

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

'The group also welcomes the Scottish government's announcement of additional expenditure of up to £68m to extend to 8 November the similar funding scheme it has in place for Scotland's bus operators,' it added.

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