At the weekend we reported on the £29 million worth of funding for light rail in England and it has now been confirmed by Nexus that the Tyne and Wear Metro has been awarded £7.6 million of this financial support to back the increase in services already seen on the network.
This funding will now help Metro to run a near full timetable until August, although beyond this time further support is likely as full passenger numbers are still not expected on public transport by this date. On top of the previous funding the Tyne and Wear Metro has now received £16.2 million worth of extraordinary funding from the Department for Transport since the pandemic began.
Martin Kearney, Chief Operating Officer at Nexus, said: “This new financial support will allow us to run a full Metro timetable and maximise the room we have for social distancing on the system. It means that we can meet all of Metro’s running costs up until August at this challenging time, where Metro fare revenue has fallen significantly. As lockdown measures are gradually lifted, we will continue playing our part in supporting the local economy, but we are conscious that social distancing measures mean that it will be a long time before we return to normal passenger numbers. We will continue to talk to the Government about the need for additional financial support for the remainder of the year at the very least.”
Cllr Martin Gannon, Leader of Gateshead Council and Chair of the North East Joint Transport Committee, added: “We welcome this funding which, in addition to the amount already pledged last month, will allow Metro to run a full service until August. However, we will continue talks with Government over support for Metro for the remainder of the year as we look to keep a full service running to maximise space on trains, allowing passengers to observe social distancing guidelines as lockdown measures are gradually eased.”