The Scottish Government is to provide up to £9 million of emergency funding for Glasgow Subway and Edinburgh Trams in response to the financial impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic.
The funding announcement follows detailed discussions with Strathclyde Partnership for Transport (SPT) and Edinburgh Trams regarding available resources due to the unprecedented impact that Covid 19 has had on travel demand. These discussions have been undertaken in light of the published COVID-19: Framework for Decision Making and the Transport Transition Plan.
Cabinet Secretary for Transport, Infrastructure and Connectivity Michael Matheson said: “The Glasgow Subway and Edinburgh Trams provide key connections within our two biggest cities and as we emerge through the stages of lockdown demand for public transport will continue to rise. The services provide essential capacity and link with bus, rail and park and ride facilities.
“Over the next three months we will provide up to £9 million of financial support to operators to enable services to continue. Any restrictions on these services could have placed unsustainable demands on other modes, especially bus and so this funding will assist capacity across all public transport.
“I would like to thank all the people working across the light rail sector who have, and continue to, provide these important connections. These services have allowed our key workers and others who needed to travel for essential journeys to do so during very challenging circumstances. Going forward the subway and tram will help our wider society and economy recover as we emerge through the next phases of easing lockdown. We will continue to monitor the demand, capacity and costs of support across all transport modes over the coming months.”
Martin Dean, Chair of Edinburgh Trams said: “Throughout this pandemic, we have continued to operate a service for our customers who are key workers or who’ve relied on us to make essential journeys.
“With strict social distancing requirements and significant loss of revenue, this has been challenging. However, our colleagues have acted quickly to make necessary changes to our services and worked with us to protect jobs through the Government’s Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme. For this, we are extremely proud. This funding will help to support our efforts and keep our services operational. However, 2020 will remain a challenging year for the organisation.”
The emergency measures will be in place from July to the end of September and will support services throughout this period.