Tn Gb Manchester Metrolink Mediacity Tram 04
Metrolink is the largest light rail network included in the funding package

Burnham welcomes latest Metrolink support

Greater Manchester’s tram network is to benefit from a further funding boost as the Department for Transport looks to back regional operators building up services ahead of September’s spending round.

With Government keen to encourage workers back to the office, and ramping up ‘back to school’ messaging, bus and tram services across the country are to receive £256m to help them build services up in the coming weeks.

As with its counterparts, Metrolink’s ticket revenues have fallen precipitously since the start of March. Metrolink is one of five light rail networks to be supported by up to £37.4m over the next 12 weeks, meaning that over the Covid-19 pandemic it will have been supported by £44m.

Andy Burnham, mayor of Greater Manchester, said: “Getting the cities going again will be crucial to the recovery of the UK economy. As people think about returning to the office, it is vital that we are able to offer them a Covid-safe public transport service to build the confidence on which any recovery will have to be based.

“That’s why I am pleased that the Government has removed the uncertainty that has been hanging over Metrolink. But this latest deal only covers the next 12 weeks and I would ask the Government to consider making a clear commitment to cover all losses up to the end of the financial year so that we can plan for the city’s recovery with more certainty.

“Until the pandemic hit, Metrolink operated without subsidy, with its revenues used to operate the network and repay the borrowing used to fund its expansion.  Given the huge drop in ticket revenue, and without sufficient support from the Government, we would have a deficit running into tens of millions of pounds this year and next.

“I am grateful to the Transport Secretary for once again showing he is prepared to listen to us and for providing this support. But what we are asking for going forward to support the country’s largest tram network is a drop in the ocean compared to the transport package for London. The success of the Northern Powerhouse depends upon sustained investment in transport – both now and into the future.”

Metrolink’s support of £44m makes it comfortably the largest regional light rail network package, with Tyne & Wear Metro second on around £24m. Metrolink is used to generating £6m a month in ticket sales, but that number fell to less than £1m during the pandemic.

Transport minister Baroness Vere said: “As we continue to open up the economy more people are using public transport and need sufficient service levels in order to travel safely.

“This extension of funding pushes our overall support past £700 million and means people across the country will have access to the transport services they need.”

Your Comments

Read our comments policy here

Manchester does seem to have that knack of getting what it wants/needs.

By L1

There are about 9 million people still on furlong and about 30% of them won’t get the job back. There are millions and millions of people still working from home. When will it all go back to normal and see our tram’s full during the morning rush hours and evening rush hours, I don’t know. Buses are running really slow on the roads for the last 5months because most people are not going to work.

By Darren born bred.

Shows how important Manchester’s economy is to the UK

By Lol

@L1, not really. If MCR always got what it wanted, it would have had its railway decimated in the 60s by a London based government. It wouldn’t have had its buses deregulated and it would have succeeded in building an underground railway instead of failing 25 times – mostly due to that same London based government which got their underground lines and integrated buses. It would have not had to substitute a proper rapid transit metro network for a cheap tram with mostly single cars that pack people in like Sardines. It would have had the sign off for Piccadilly and Oxford station upgrades and been able to electrify all of its lines. It would have a fully integrated smart ticketing system like London and HS2 to MCR would have been signed off and planned years ago (and started at least at the same time as the southern bit) not to mention NPH Rail connecting Liverpool to Leeds via MCR. If we got what we wanted, we wouldn’t be expecting a bland, functional HS2 expansion to Piccadilly, which is what London has told us we’re getting, while they get grand upgrades to London Bridge, St Pancras and Euston. If we got what we wanted all the time, we would have funding to maintain our parks, fix the potholes in our roads (which are quite breathtaking at times) or clean the drainage on the streets, which can turn to inland lakes after a rainstorm. If we got want we asked for, our central A&E units at hospitals wouldn’t resemble the developing world. L1, we don’t always get everything we want and we’re in the same situation as your city.

By EOD

Eod,, wow. I could not have expressed it any better. I read today of government plans to build a new transpennine link,,, ROAD. I just assumed that there would be progress throughout the county which means fast, clean mass transport systems. Crewe is about 40 miles from M’cr Piccadilly so it makes sense to continue HS2. It’s what happens next that’s vital. There is an alternative HS2 proposition and it suggests continuing from M’cr to Leeds mostly tunnels so journey times would be around 18 minutes berween the 2 cities and that it should continue to York. Its a much better idea than making M’cr a terminus. Needles to say that the east leg of HS2 would not be necessary and save £B’ s. Also the current plans are for HS2 to go as far as Wigan, and without a HS2 station and no real improvement on connections there (it should be HS2 Wigan ~M’cr West) and of course the same standard of connection to Liverpool. I think that if we have the capability of moving freight from Liverpool via M’cr and onto Sheffield and ultimately Immingham which is a deep water port, deals with Esjberg, Rotterdam, Hamburg. You got global trade going on right there. Surely there is a business case?. But seriously,,,, building a road! Hmm

By Robert Fuller

Good post EOD. No doubt it’ll be completely ignored by the Liverpudlians

By Anonymous

@L1 Metrolink runs without Government subsidy, unique seeing as the majority of world city light rail systems do.

By Citizen

Metro link runs without government subsidy, unlike Merseyrail of course which is one of the most heavily subsides franchises in the country.

By Reality

Manchester is not alone in this, all the cities have suffered in the same way, stop moaning about it that’s all we hear on here.

By Think of other places.

Finish the furlough early and get people back in to work. The majority of people are now in the mindset that they need to protect themselves with face masks etc, so make workplaces safe and get them in to work! Go back in September when kids go to back to school

By Steve

RF I like your reference to Liverpool and Immingham. The all roads/lines lead to London isn’t the be-all-and-end-all and there isn’t enough said about linking key ports such as Liverpool and Immingham. The fact this west-east link is so poor and has large metropolis’ along the way gives great potential. We can all get to London fast enough but across to Leeds, Liverpool or Hull and it is pretty mind numbing the traffic, overcrowding and timescales at play. I’m not saying HS2 should be shelved but I do wish the connectivity across the North was improved first before bolstering what already feels like a good level of connectivity to London.

Manchester does seem to be adept at capturing funding and initiatives and they can only be applauded for doing so. It’s a pretty good skill to have in the context of their longstanding Labour leadership and the longstanding Tory Government. There must be a recognition in Whitehall that the city region is hugely important and that funds are used well to secure economic growth.

I do hope this Government looks at the northern region in more detail and goes beyond the City regions too. Manchester has boomed these last 8 years and it’d be nice to see the satellite towns capture some of these waves too.

By NC

Give everyone a voucher towards a car, it’s better value and much safer

By Lol