On Friday the 16th of July 2021, Transport Minister Baroness Vere announced that light rail operators in England are going to benefit from £56 million in funding from the Government.
The financial support comes as coronavirus restrictions are lifted and to guarantee that crucial services can be run.
Light rail is a vital public transport facility for many communities throughout the UK.
During the pandemic, the government has given large levels of financial support to the sector via the Light Rail Revenue Grant and also the Light Rail Restart Revenue Grant.
Light rail services running through the pandemic have ensured that key workers have been able to travel to their workplace with ease and in a safe, distanced, and clean environment.
The Light Rail network has also been a lifeline for many members of the public offering transport facilities to enable them to access necessary facilities.
As life gets back to normal the light rail sector wants to reassure passengers that it is safe and reliable to travel with them, with services returning to pre-pandemic levels.
The final tranche of funding for the sector will come online from Tuesday the 20th of July 2021 and will support operators until April 2022.
The operators benefiting from the funding are Manchester Metrolink, Tyne and Wear Metro, Sheffield Supertram, Nottingham Express Transit, West Midlands Metro, and Blackpool Tramway.
The funding comes as the Government is investing billions into the recovery effort and to ‘build back better’ from the impact of the pandemic, providing improvements in transport links right across the country.
Transport Minister 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.”
Chief Secretary to the Treasury Steve Barclay said: “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. 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.”
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.”
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