‘Bus Bonus’

Give Bus Commuters a Fair Deal on Tax!

It’s a nonsense that our tax system gives tax relief on workplace car parking but offers no help to bus commuters. We want tax relief on public transport season tickets, to give fair and equal treatment for bus users.

HMRC continues to provide tax incentives for car parking at workplaces. However, there is no equivalent tax incentives given to public transport users. Given that UK government transport policy – on paper at least! – is to encourage modal shift from cars to sustainable transport, this is a perverse and distorting tax incentive in favour of car use.

There is a positive example upon which change could be based. The HMRC does provide tax incentives to employees to use bikes through the ‘Cycle to Work Scheme’. So why is there no similar incentive for bus commuters?

The ‘Bus Bonus’ proposal has been promoted by the ‘Greener Journeys’ campaign, and we are very happy to lend our support to their initiative. Research by KPMG for Greener Journeys found that the economic benefits from this tax change would outweigh the costs by 2 to 1.

It’s time that the UK Government stopped giving tax breaks to car commuters and give the same benefits to bus commuters. Indeed, if it was to follow its own transport policies, it would be legislating to provide tax relief on public transport and abolish that on workplace parking!

The Scottish Government has a role here. It needs to be seen to be exerting its pressure upon the UK Government to correct this distorting tax anomaly, and we trust that the incoming Scottish administration will commit to lending its support here.