To keep services running on the Tyne and Wear Metro while passenger numbers continue to recover, the Department for Transport (DfT) has confirmed it will provide an extra £8.5 million of financial support from government funds.
Nexus, the public body which owns and manages Metro, has welcomed this further support, and said that the money will help to sustain its services until the end of October.
This is the third tranche of emergency support from the DfT, following an initial £8.6 million on 1 May 2020 and a further £7.6 million on 26 May. It means that the Government has now committed a total of £24.7 million to support Metro services during the Coronavirus outbreak.
Nexus chief operating officer Martin Kearney said: “This is vital funding support that will enable us to sustain Metro services while customer numbers continue to recover.
“The COVID-19 crisis has had a major impact on Metro journeys, and they remain around 40% of what we would normally expect. There has been gradual growth since lockdown has eased, shops have re-opened, and more people have returned to work, which is positive news.
“However, we expect the recovery to be slow going, which is why government support is essential for Metro.
“We remain on dialogue with the Government about longer term funding support for the services we deliver.”
A range of new measures have been put in place to ensure that the Metro system is COVID-secure. These include new signage and queueing systems, extra deep cleaning, and hand sanitiser points at key locations. Passengers are urged to continue to follow floor and wall markings in order to maintain social distancing and to always wear a face covering.
The government is also helping the other metro and light rail networks around the country. In addition to the total of £24.7 to Tyne and Wear Metro, the DfT is providing:
|Manchester Metrolink||£44 million|
|Sheffield Supertram||£6.8 million|
|Nottingham Express Transit||£12.1 million|
|West Midlands Metro||£ 5.7 million|