Edinburgh Trams and the Glasgow Subway are to be given a further £7.5 million in government funding to help support both systems while they continue to experience a significant fall in revenue as a result of the Covid-19 pandemic. This funding follows swiftly on from the UK Government support for English systems outside of London and now means that the Scottish Government have provided £28.5 million since the start of the pandemic.
This latest round of funding has been awarded after ongoing discussions between Transport Scotland and both the Strathclyde Partnership for Transport (for the Glasgow Subway) and Edinburgh Trams. It will now mean there is support in place until the end of June 2021 at which point more restrictions should have been relaxed with the hope that passenger numbers will start to increase, although it is highly unlikely these will return to pre-pandemic levels for quite some time.
Michael Matheson, Cabinet Secretary for Transport, Infrastructure and Connectivity, said: “The light rail networks in our two biggest cities continue to play a vital role in keeping Scotland moving safely, facilitating essential travel which of course, now includes people attending vaccination appointments. While travel restrictions and physical distancing requirements mean capacity on public transport remains reduced, our support to date has enabled Glasgow Subway and Edinburgh Trams to carry around 3 million trips since July 2020, further demonstrating the importance of these services. Glasgow and Edinburgh are expected to see continued significant financial constraint over the coming months and as such we are providing further financial assistance until the end of June to enable services to continue. I reiterate my heartfelt thanks to everyone working across the light rail sector who has, and continues to, provide services for key workers and others who needed to travel for essential journeys to do so during very challenging circumstances. The subway and tram will help our wider society and economy recover as we begin to gradually and safely transition out of lockdown.”
George Lowder, Chief Executive of Transport for Edinburgh, added: “This is very welcome confirmation of further funding support, as we continue to deliver services for essential and key workers and those using the tram to get to vaccination centres. We also welcome the continued dialogue with regard to continued support beyond June, through the uncertainty of Summer 2021. Despite the gradual easing of lockdown, we continue to encourage all customers to follow the latest guidance when using public transport.”