DfT announces £56 million in funding for light rail operators
The Department for Transport has announced more funding for public transport operators, this time for light rail services in the North and England and the Midlands.
Sheffield Supertram is just one of the operators that is set to benefit from the funding
Light rail operators across England could benefit from up to £56 million in Government funding to help ensure they continue to run vital services as coronavirus (COVID-19) restrictions are lifted, Transport Minister Baroness Vere has announced.
The funding will run from 20 July to April 2022, and will support operators across the North of England and the Midlands, such as Manchester Metrolink, Tyne and Wear Metro, Nottingham Express Transit, West Midlands Metro, and Sheffield Supertram.
“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,” said Transport Minister Baroness Vere.
“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.”
“As our economy reopens, we’re continuing to support people and businesses – and making sure people can get to work and use public transport easily is crucial,” added Chief Secretary to the Treasury Steve Barclay.
“Today’s funding means that thousands of people across England can continue to travel on public transport when they need to, and regular services can continue as the country comes out of restrictions.”
The Department for Transport (DfT) says the funding package announced will be the final tranche of COVID-19 related financial support to be given to the sector.
According to the DfT, the Government has already provided around £150 million to operators to ensure services have continued to run throughout the pandemic. The current emergency funding package will end on 19 July 2021.
The funding has been crucial to some operators, as Mayor of the West Midlands Andy Street explained. “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,” he said.
“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.”