Transport Minister Baroness Vere has recognised the need for ongoing support for light rail as operators ramp up services while many coronavirus restrictions remain in place.
In the latest round of talks between government and the organisation representing the light rail sector, the minister was pressed on the real need for a long-term funding plan to aid the sector’s recovery as the current deal for networks in England expires on August 3.
James Hammett, UKTram Managing Director, explained: “It was clear that Baroness Vere was well briefed on the issues facing the sector and the important role light rail has played in helping key workers to get around key cities during the pandemic.
“She also recognised the problems created by delays to the publication of new Covid-19 recovery measures and assured us that she was pressing for an announcement on a funding proposal put forward by the Department for Transport.”
A statement on further support is becoming increasingly important as networks plan for an expected increase in customer numbers with the re-opening of schools and colleges in September alongside the re-opening of many workplaces while social distancing continues to restrict capacity.
Mr Hammett added: “Moving forward, Baroness Vere also agreed to continue the strengthening of lines of communication between the sector and the DfT, and UKTram remains committed to representing the interests of members in future talks while highlighting the important role light rail has to play in rebuilding the economies of key cities.”