Further financial support for light rail networks

A West Midlands Metro tram waits at the Library tram stop in Centenary Square, Birmingham.

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

Operators will receive emergency funding of up to £33 million over a period of 11 weeks (19 March – 5 June 2021). This support is in addition to the £160 million in support funding that has already been granted, taking the total to nearly £200 million.

The funding will support operators as they continue to face reduced revenues caused by low passenger numbers, ensuring these vital services remain viable as the country prepares to ease lockdown restrictions and people start travelling more frequently.

Transport Minister Baroness Vere.

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.”

A review of the need for further funding for these systems will take place before the end of the 11 weeks (5 June 2021).

Before the pandemic, more than 119 million journeys were taken by light rail or tram each year on systems outside of London, highlighting the importance of these transport networks across the north and Midlands.

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