New Merseyrail Trains General Shot At Station
The number of passengers on Liverpool's Merseyrail has fallen dramatically during the pandemic

Merseyrail and Metrolink ‘under threat’ without Govt support

Dan Whelan

The light rail networks that serve Liverpool and Greater Manchester city regions may have to suspend operations as severely reduced passenger numbers hit revenues, metro mayors Steve Rotheram and Andy Burnham said. 

The leaders warned that, without Government funding, the networks could cease to operate and called on politicians to provide a support package to keep services operational. 

Manchester Metrolink generates, on average, £6m a month for Greater Manchester, according to Burnham, but he told journalists on Tuesday that the figure has dropped to less than £1m per month since the Government imposed lockdown restrictions amid the Covid-19 outbreak. Passenger numbers have fallen 95% compared to the usual monthly average, Burnham said.  

Rotheram echoed Burnham’s concerns, saying that Merseyrail is “keeping its head above water”, but that passenger numbers are down 83% compared to the monthly average of previous years.  

Burnham said: “In the absence of support, we are being forced into a corner and I make that appeal to Government to work with us and recognise that economic recovery will require a functioning transport system. 

“We are weeks into this now and don’t have an answer for Metrolink.” 

Rotheram added: “The fare box has literally fallen through the floor. We are still running services that need staffing, but we aren’t getting the returns through the revenue stream, so something will need to happen. 

“Although the Government has helped nationally with rail, we need a local settlement. The Government has been slow and it needs to help us now and step up the pace.” 

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i think it is wrong to stop the mersey rail what will people do it is not fair

By allison murphy

They could close Merseyside railways to keep the trams going in Manchester as it is the capital

By Kurt Steamings

It would be interesting to see if this is a problem for the Tube & Overground in London. I haven’t heard it is, but maybe I have just missed it. Wouldn’t surprise me though if the government has already offered to help their own transport networks & neglected everywhere else. After all, they were voted in on a single policy… “Get Brexit Done” and our transport issues are nothing to do with their main goal.

That said, it’s not just us in Manchester & Liverpool that have to worry, networks all across the country will have similar fears… Well, everywhere except Leeds which benefits for the first time in their history of being the largest city in Europe without any effective public transport network. Having nothing (and as I discovered with their mayor, proudly not planning anything either) does mean they don’t lose anything either.


If we all had to wear masks and gloves to get the economy running again so that is the way we must go. So many people depend on both these services. Lets do what other Cities are doing about protection from Covid-19 instead of endless meetings.

By Concerned

That’s a great idea

By Anonymous

In view of the fact that Manchester and Liverpool are both busy cities .I feel it would be beneficial to keeping as many rail and tram links going at reduced rate .But help will be needed from the Govt

By Lynn Segat

Unhelpfully, the article doesn’t tell us how this compares to other regional light rail systems (whom Burnham and Rotherham should be uniting with), or those in the capital, most notably London Underground.

By Optimist

Why can’t you run a limited service to help all the frontline staff during this crisis

By Neil

OK so this government sees that Manchester is the powerhouse so help us out

By Tony Horrocks

We need the trains to stay on and to stay staffed 110%

By Train lover

Mersey Travel have been making MILLIONS a year in profit from the mersey tunnel for years now, even though it was paid for by the tax payer.

Maybe that profit should of been saved for a rainy day instead of paying the execs

By Jay Roberts

Manchester will get more investment. Why break the status quo?

By Mike McDonut

Liverpool will get more tax payer-funded subsidies. Why break the status quo?

By Mary McDonnagh

Doesn’t Merseyrail get loads of government subsidies anyway?

By Anonymous

They need to make sure Manchester is still running, it’s the only part of the UK outside of London that is a net contributor to the UK economy

By Dan