Govt commits a further £33m to light rail and trams

The Department for Transport has committed a further £33m of emergency COVID-19 funding to support light rail and tram operators during the pandemic.

Operators in Nottingham, Sheffield, Newcastle, Blackpool, Manchester and Birmingham will receive the cash over the next 11 weeks, officials said, with a review of the need for further funding taking place before the end of that period.

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A tram in the Old Market Square, Nottingham, January 2021

Before the pandemic, more than 119 million journeys were taken by light rail or tram each year on systems outside of London.

The money builds on over £160m that has already been announced by the UK Government for light rail and trams during the pandemic.

The funding will support operators as they continue to face reduced revenues caused by low passenger numbers.

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.'

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