More Support for Trams and Light Rail

© David Dixon

Yesterday Sunday the 24th of Many 2020 during the Coronavirus update it was announced that further funding for trams and light rail in England would be made available. The Secretary of state for transport Grant Shapp’s said during the announcement that funding was to protect local transport.

Previously Andy Burnham, the Mayor of Manchester issued a warning that the Manchester Metrolink which is an extensive Tram network covering Manchester city the airport and the outer suburbs. Could be mothballed without additional funding as they are currently losing millions every month with passengers numbers down 95%.

Mr Shapp reported £29 million in funding for trams and light rail. It is unknown at this time which networks this will include; however, we are sure that more information will surface at a later date.

The Department for Transport published a press release about the funding and had the following to say: “The funding – amounting to £254 million for buses and £29 million for trams and light rail – will help protect and increase services, allowing people travelling to hospitals, supermarkets or their place of work to get to their destination safely and quickly, while helping ensure there is enough space for them to observe social distancing guidelines. The funding will be kept under review to ensure that full services can be up and running as quickly as possible.”

Reacting to the announcement Mayor of Manchester Andy Burnham had the following to say: “Today’s announcement by the Transport Secretary gives us most of what we need to keep running Metrolink for the next two months and I would like to thank him for listening to the concerns I have raised.

Of course, concerns remain about what will happen from August. I believe the recovery process in cities like ours would be strengthened by having the ability to plan for the longer-term. Last week, Ministers announced a funding package for London that runs until October and I would encourage them to consider extending the timetable for Greater Manchester’s deal in the same way.

We fully support the Government’s ambitions on creating more space for cycling and walking and welcome the additional funding that has been announced. The political consensus around prioritising active travel is becoming stronger by the day and this is emerging as one area where the country is set to build back better.”

We hope that this funding will be enough to keep our Trams and Light Rail systems running during this hard and unprecedented time. They are an essential part of our lives, especially in large cities and contribute significantly to the UK economy.

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