The Tyne and Wear Metro has secured a further £13.1m of Government funding to support its services through to April next year while customer numbers continue to recover from the impact of lockdown.
The Department for Transport (DfT) confirmed the new support package for light rail operators today, Friday 16 July.
Nexus, the public body which owns and manages Metro, said that that the longer-term financial support was welcome as it expected its recovery to be gradual after lockdown has ended.
The money will be used to cover Metro’s running costs through to 5 April 2022 while fare revenue continues to be adversely affected as a result of the Covid-19 pandemic.
The funding provides certainty to operators and the resources and time to continue to transition their services to align with new customer behaviours after the pandemic, said the DfT.
Director of Finance and Resources at Nexus, John Fenwick, said: “The longer-term financial support for Metro is really welcome and it will help us to sustain services through to April 2022 while the recovery continues."
Transport Minister Baroness Vere said: “Light rail and tram services provide an essential service in our towns and cities, ensuring people can get to work, school or to see friends and family.
“This £56m funding package will allow operators to keep running these vital services as normal in those initial months as restrictions are lifted and passengers begin to return in higher numbers.”