Light rail operators have been granted up to £56 million in Government funding to help run services as coronavirus (Covid-19) restrictions are lifted.
The funding, announced by transport minister Baroness Vere, will run from July 20 to April 2022, and will support operators across the north and the Midlands including: Manchester Metrolink, Tyne and Wear Metro, Sheffield Supertram, Nottingham Express Transit, West Midlands Metro and Blackpool Tramway.
Baroness Vere said: “Light rail and tram services provide an essential service in our towns and cities, ensuring people can get to work, school or to see friends and family.
“This £56 million funding package will allow operators to keep running these vital services as normal in those initial months, as restrictions are lifted, and passengers begin to return in higher numbers.”
The Government said the funding package will be the final tranche of Covid-19 related financial support to be given to the sector - the current emergency funding package will end on July 19.
Andy Street, the Mayor of the West Midlands, said: “Our West Midlands Metro service has operated throughout the pandemic and has seen patronage return very quickly each time restrictions have been lifted. This has shown just how important our trams are to commuters and our regional economy.
“It was critical, therefore, that we received this latest funding from Government, and by being the longest funding package we have received so far it has given the West Midlands much-needed certainty.”
Last week, the Government announced a £226.5 million funding package to support bus operators across England, outside of London, through the recovery period.