UKTram – who bring together all UK tram and light rail systems to give a “single voice” when dealing with governments and statutory bodies – have pledged to continue working in partnership with the UK and Scottish Governments to secure additional support for systems as there starts to be a cautious lifting of Coronavirus restrictions over the comes months.
UKTram has been at the forefront of discussions with both the Department for Transport and Transport Scotland throughout the pandemic to provide Ministers and other officials with valuable information on the impact of Covid-19 on the sector which has helped to ensure funding of £160 million for systems in England and £21 million for those in Scotland (including the Glasgow Subway).
Now with the roadmap to easing restrictions having been recently published these discussions have been continuing as for the current funding packages are only due to run until the end of March – when there will still be significant restrictions in place across both England and Scotland and fare revenue will still be severely reduced.
George Lowder, Chair of UKTram, said: “While the road map offers a steer that will enable Operators to plan ahead, any significant return to pre-pandemic passenger numbers is still many months away and may never return to pre-COVID levels and patterns. Emergency funding has so far enabled Operators to maintain vital services that many essential and key workers continue to rely on, although the current support package is set to end at the end of March when most restrictions will still be in place.”
UKTram will now be continuing to provide the Department for Transport and Transport Scotland with the latest information they need to draw up further emergency measures while also pressing for ongoing funding to help meet the continued shortfalls in revenue.
As well as looking at funding for the immediate future UKTram will be working alongside governments to help the sector after the pandemic to ensure it can play a key role in the wider economy recovery.