Sheffield's trams to get extra funding package
Supertram services across South Yorkshire have been handed a further financial package by Government in wake of the Covid-19 pandemic.
The Sheffield City Region will receive another £2.6 million in order to offset a dramatic fall in passenger numbers due to more people working from home under current restrictions. which are set to be increased on Saturday when the South Yorkshire region is moved into Tier 3 “Very High” coronavirus restrictions.
SCR Mayor Dan Jarvis and Sheffield MPs in particular have lobbied Government for extra funds in order to keep the service operational. The Department for Transport has now given the affected system just under £10 million since April.
The service, which runs across Sheffield and parts of Rotherham, is used by around five million passengers in a regular year.
Local authorities and operators in Sheffield, Tyne and Wear, Nottingham, the West Midlands, Manchester and Blackpool are set to receive up to £35.4m over the next 12 weeks.
Up to a further £32.4m will then be available, ‘subject to a Government review’ informed by local authorities’ plans to move networks onto a ‘more financially sustainable footing’, for up to the end of March 2021.
Light Rail Minister Baroness Vere said: “Trams serve as a vital link for communities in the North and Midlands – whether it’s to get to local shops, school or work, we know many people rely on these services every day.
“That’s why we’re continuing to fund services so that they can operate safely during the pandemic. Passengers across the North and Midlands will continue to have access to the services they need.”
It is understood Mayor Jarvis was the first to raise the issue of tram funding with other metro mayors and called for ‘collective action’ to ensure that other city region’s systems were supported, following a significant fall in passenger numbers during the pandemic.
South Yorkshire’s bus operators also received a funding package earlier in the year. Reports back in July said during the peak of the lockdown, passenger numbers fell to 10 per cent on some routes.
The announcement on tram funding comes after the DfT said it was committing £42m to upgrade the A630 (Sheffield Parkway) between Rotherham and Sheffield.