Saturday 20th March 2021
Metro Secures A Further £8m Of Financial Support
***PRESS ARTICLE FROM NEXUS WEBSITE***
The Tyne and Wear Metro has secured £8m of further financial support from the Government to sustain its essential services for the next 11 weeks while Covid-19 restrictions ease gradually.
The Department for Transport (DfT) confirmed the latest round of emergency covid funding today, Saturday 20 March. The money will be used to cover Metro’s running costs and replaces fare and commercial revenue losses incurred as a result of the pandemic.
Nexus, the public body which owns and manages Metro, said the money was vital at a time when customer numbers are 30% of normal and are expected to recover further as lockdown eases.
This latest announcement means that since March 2020 the Government has allocated a total of £47m of cash support for Metro.
Director of Finance and Resources at Nexus, John Fenwick, said: “This extra financial support is vital so that we can continue providing Metro services while the country starts to emerge from lockdown and we look to welcome more of our customers back to the network.
“Metro ridership and fare revenue remain way below where they would have been, so we are pleased that the Government has made available a further £8m of funding for the next three months.
“The money that we have been allocated will replace fare and commercial revenue losses and go towards meeting our operating costs, ensuring that a key local transport network is being sustained while it continues to face the biggest challenge in its 40 year history.
Cllr Martin Gannon, Chair of the North East Joint Transport Committee, said: “I welcome this funding to keep the Tyne and Wear Metro operating, but I would like further talks with government in relation to the longer term picture.
“It is going to take months, maybe even years, for public transport to recover from the effects of the pandemic on ridership. We need the Government to commit its support throughout that recovery period.”
Nexus has put a range of measures in place to ensure that the Metro system is covid-secure.
Measures include new signage and queueing systems, extra deep cleaning, UV light sanitisers on 36 escalators and hand sanitiser points at key locations.
People must wear a face covering when travelling, unless exempt, and should continue to follow floor and wall markings in order to maintain social distancing.
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