Sheffield's Supertram handed £1.3m lifeline from Government

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Sheffield’s Supertram network has been given a £1.3 million lifeline by the Government – allowing it to continue serving the city’s key workers during the coronavirus crisis.

The news was announced today by transport secretary Grant Shapps, who said the network was vital to ensuring essential travel could still take place in the city.

The support package will be worth on average £111,000 per week over three months, and will be backdated to March, when the pandemic began.

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Public transport operators have across the country have seen sharp decline in passenger numbers as people follow Government guidance to stay at home during the crisis.

The Department of Transport say the package will allow operators Stagecoach to run essential services while ensuring that current social distancing guidelines can be met.

Transport secretary and minister for the Northern Powerhouse, Grant Shapps, said: “The best way to stop the spread of the virus and protect the NHS is to stay at home – but protecting key transport services is vital to ensure essential travel can take place. 

“Sheffield Supertram has been serving passengers for over a quarter of a century, keeping people moving in Sheffield.  It plays a crucial role in getting NHS staff and emergency services to work - and it is only right that we offer operators support during this time of national crisis. 

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“This package of support will help ensure light rail services continue to operate during this difficult time.”

Sheffield's Supertram network has secured a cash lifeline from the Government.Sheffield's Supertram network has secured a cash lifeline from the Government.
Sheffield's Supertram network has secured a cash lifeline from the Government.

Sheffield City Region Mayor, Dan Jarvis, said: “Public transport is a lifeline for so many in our community. It has proved invaluable during the Coronavirus pandemic to ensure that key workers are able to get to work, as well as ensuring safe passage for those conducting essential journeys.

“I welcome the funding that has been announced that will allow our tram and tram train services to continue during this lockdown period.

“I’ve been working closely with the Government as well as the South Yorkshire Passenger Transport Executive and operators of bus, tram and rail services, to plan what public transport services could look like once lockdown restrictions are eased. I’m still encouraging everyone to continue following the national guidance for as long as is necessary. When restrictions are relaxed, I'm ensuring plans will be in place to enable us to adhere to social distancing and continue running public transport for all our communities.”

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And Tim Bilby, Managing Director of Stagecoach Supertram, said: “Supertram is a critical part of South Yorkshire’s public transport network - even more so during the pandemic - and this funding will ensure the current emergency tram network can continue to provide vital connections for key workers and other essential journeys.

“Government, the Mayor, SYPTE, Supertram, and other stakeholders from across the Sheffield City Region have worked extensively together to secure this package. We would also like to thank our frontline and support teams at Supertram for their selfless efforts to keep services running.

"Supertram will also have a key part to play in the region’s recovery when we do come through this difficult period. It will be vital that the system has the resources it needs to seek to restore the service towards pre-pandemic levels when there will likely still be conditions which will change how people live and travel.”