The Tyne and Wear Metro has secured a further tranche of financial support from the Government of up to £1.66m to sustain its services through to 19 July while it continues to recover from the impact of lockdown
The Department for Transport (DfT) confirmed the latest round of emergency covid funding in response to the announcement from the Prime Minister that the further lifting of lockdown restrictions would be delayed for four more weeks.
The money will be used to cover Metro’s running costs while fare revenue continues to be adversely affected as a result of the pandemic.
Nexus, the public body which owns and manages Metro, said that the extra financial support was essential while more people start choosing to use the network again as Covid-19 restrictions lift.
The latest announcement means that since the beginning of lockdown in March 2020 Nexus will have received nearly £40m of Government support for Metro.
Director of Finance and Resources at Nexus, John Fenwick, said: “This extra financial support is vital to support Metro services while lockdown eases and our customers continue to return.
“Passenger loadings seen since non-essential retail, outdoor and indoor hospitality re-opened have been really encouraging and the fare revenue that we have been generating has reduced the level of emergency support required from Government.
“We are doing lots of things to make travelling on the Metro more convenient and as safe as possible, but there is still a gap between the cost of running Metro services and the fare revenue we are generating.
“The funding will 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 41year history.”
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.