The government has stepped in to provide £8.5 million of financial support to keep services running on the Tyne and Wear Metro while passenger numbers continue to recover.
The Department for Transport (DfT) has confirmed the funding which is in addition to an initial £8.6 million of emergency support that was announced on 1 May and a further £7.6 million on 26 May. It means that the government has now committed a total of £24.7m for Metro to support its services during the Coronavirus outbreak.
Nexus, the public body which owns and manages Metro, has welcomed further financial support, and said that the money would help to sustain its services until the end of October.
Martin Kearney, the chief operating officer at Nexus, said: “This is vital funding support that will enable us to sustain Metro services while customer numbers continue to recover.
“The Covid-19 crisis has had a major impact on Metro journeys and they remain around 40% of what we would normally expect. There has been gradual growth since lockdown has eased, shops have re-opened, and more people have returned to work, which is positive news.
“However, we expect the recovery to be slow going, which is why Government support is essential for Metro.
“We remain on dialogue with the Government about longer term funding support for the services we deliver.”
Nexus has put a range of measures in place to ensure that the Metro system is Covid-secure.
Measures include new signage and queueing systems, extra deep cleaning, and hand sanitiser points at key locations. People should continue to follow floor and wall markings in order to maintain social distancing and should always wear a face covering.