Further £2.2m of emergency funding for Scottish light rail operators

The Scottish Government is to provide a further £2.2m of emergency funding for light rail in response to the on-going financial impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic.

This latest emergency funding brings the total light rail support available to over £36m and this will now be in place until the end of March 2022.

This funding announcement follows ongoing 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.

Minister for Transport, Graeme Dey said: “Public transport systems in our two biggest cities have a vital role to play in keeping Scotland moving. Our support to date has enabled Glasgow Subway and Edinburgh Trams to carry over seven million passengers since July 2020.

“A safe and confident return to public transport is crucial to ensure we have a viable and sustainable transport system to support Covid-19 recovery. This additional funding until the end of March 2022 will enable transport operators to support the pandemic response set out in our Strategic Framework, as well as our overarching aim to suppress the virus to a level consistent with alleviating its harms.

“I thank everyone who has worked so hard across the light rail sector to provide services under challenging circumstances. The subway and tram will help our wider society and economy recover and rebuild for a better future.”

George Lowder, Chief Executive of Transport for Edinburgh said: “We are delighted to have the same funding support timescale as bus operators. This gives us a degree of security through the uncertainty of continued Covid recovery this winter, and added confidence to plan ahead into 2022.”

SPT Chair, Councillor Dr Martin Bartos said: “As all parts of the economy now looks towards post-COVID recovery, we know transport has an important role to play in helping the wider economy.

“This latest emergency funding from Scottish Government is welcomed by SPT.  While we are starting to see more passengers return to the Subway, we are not yet back to our normal patronage numbers. This additional funding helps with both our short-term and longer term planning for our recovery from the impact of the pandemic.”

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