The Government has announced an additional £33 million of emergency coronavirus funding to support light rail and tram operators in the Midlands and the north of England.
The funding is set to support operators as they continue to face reduced revenues caused by low passenger numbers. The funding will ensure services remain viable for the future, as the country prepares to ease lockdown restrictions and people start travelling more frequently.
Operators in Nottingham, Sheffield, Newcastle, Blackpool, Birmingham and Manchester will receive the emergency funding over the next 11 weeks, building on more than £160 million in funding that has already been announced by the UK Government for light rail and trams during the pandemic.
Transport Minister Baroness Vere said: “As the country opens up in line with the roadmap out of lockdown, we want light rail and tram services to be available to passengers and running as normal.
“That’s why we’re continuing to fund these vital transport systems, ensuring that they’re available now and are ready for people to use when restrictions ease.”
Chief Secretary to the Treasury, Steve Barclay said: “At the start of this pandemic, we promised to do everything we could to support people and businesses. That includes making sure our country’s vital infrastructure is running for people who rely on it – such as key workers and those travelling to schools.
“Today’s funding means thousands of people across the north of England and the Midlands can continue to travel on public transport when they need to, and that trams will be ready for when the country comes out of lockdown.”
More than 119 million journeys were taken by light rail or tram each year on systems outside of London, before the coronavirus pandemic.
The Government and Mayor of London have agreed to extend the current Transport for London (TfL) funding deal until May 18 with an additional £260 million.