Under the new arrangement, local authorities and operators in Sheffield, Tyne and Wear, Nottingham, the West Midlands, Manchester and Blackpool will receive up to £35.4m over the next 12 weeks, helping to keep essential services in operation.

This will include:

  • Sheffield Supertram - £2.63m
  • Tyne & Wear Metro - £8.55m
  • Nottingham Express Transit - £4.44m
  • West Midlands Metro - £1.88m
  • Manchester Metrolink - £17.52m
  • Blackpool Tramway - £352,000

A further £32.4m will then be made available until March 2021, following a government review of local authorities’ plans to improve the financial stability of their networks.

Outside London, more than 119 million journeys are taken by light rail and light metro each year, primarily in the Midlands and North of England. Following the outbreak of the pandemic, passenger numbers on light rail and light metro networks have fallen severely, impacting revenues for operators and local authorities.

“This latest commitment brings the total funding provided for light rail to over £160m since the start of the pandemic,” says Ms Charlotte Vere, minister for light rail.

The new funding follows three previous rounds of support. Under the previous arrangement announced on August 8, which is due to expire at the end of October, light rail and metro networks could access emergency funding worth a total of £37.4m, at rates of up to £3.1m per week over 12 weeks.

“We welcome this latest tranche of funding which will enable us to keep services running in the difficult months that lie ahead,” says Mr Stephen Edwards, chair of UTG.

“Our light rail systems have been getting essential workers where they need to be, supporting the return to schools and more widely are providing life support for local economies by keeping people moving during the pandemic. They will also be critical in supporting a green and just recovery in the city regions as well as the government’s wider aspirations for levelling up and for decarbonisation.”