Edinburgh Trams and Glasgow Subway to receive £9m fund

Transport Scotland announced the emergency funding will be rolled out to allow services to continue

A £9m package of support for Edinburgh Trams and the Glasgow Subway has been revealed by the Scottish Government.

Transport Scotland announced on Tuesday that the funding will be rolled out to allow services to continue following discussions with operators.

Since the beginning of the coronavirus pandemic and subsequent lockdown in March, passenger numbers across the public transport network have dropped.

Due to social distancing restrictions leading to limited space, numbers are not expected to return to pre-pandemic levels for some time.

The funds, which will be given out over the next three months, are expected to help control demand across the network, according to transport secretary Michael Matheson.

He said stoppages of tram or Subway services would put strain on other forms of transport, with buses bearing the brunt.

“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,” Matheson said.

“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 £9m 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.”

Matheson thanked those working on trams and the Subway for allowing key workers to continue doing their jobs during the pandemic, adding they will be part of helping Scotland emerge from lockdown in the coming months.

Martin Dean, the chairman of Edinburgh Trams, welcomed the financial boost but said the remainder of 2020 will nonetheless be “challenging”.

He 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.”

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