Minister welcomes £1.3m funding boost for Sheffield Supertram to help frontline staff get to work
After the Transport Secretary announced funding for tram services in England to support them during the Coronavirus outbreak, Baroness Charlotte Vere, light rail minister, has spoken out.
She says: “In just a few short weeks, life in Britain has changed beyond all recognition. The nation is now in its sixth week of lockdown that has seen society shut down and the streets virtually empty as attempts to slow the spread of coronavirus ramped up.
”We have all seen the unprecedented drop in passengers using public transport across the country, as people rightly follow Government guidance and stay at home to protect the NHS and save lives in the face of this global pandemic.
”But it also means public transport operators are facing challenging financial circumstances - and at a time when the country most needs them to be able to run reliable, stable services to support those working round the clock to beat the virus.
“Sheffield Supertram has been serving passengers for more than a quarter of a century, and today more than ever plays a vital role in keeping people moving in Sheffield.
“It is crucial in getting nurses, fire fighters, police, prison guards and supermarket staff to where they need to be to carry out their lifesaving work.
“And for thousands across South Yorkshire who would find it difficult to pick up food and medicines if they did not have this crucial service particularly the elderly and those with disabilities.
“That’s why today I am announcing a funding boost for Sheffield Supertram of £1.3m to help keep the city’s trams running, so frontline staff in the battle against Covid-19 can get to work.
“During these challenging times, it is only right that we offer operators support.
“This follows up to £397m we recently announced to support the bus industry, to protect crucial bus routes and keep England’s buses running on them. That includes up to £14m a week over 12 weeks to ensure essential services continue to operate.
“Our commitment to supporting Sheffield’s trams is clear, having already invested £166m in capital projects to support public and sustainable transport schemes from the £2.5 billion Transforming Cities Fund, including £5.5m for a new tram-train stop and park & ride at Magna.
“I want to take this opportunity to thank each and every person who works in the tram industry, from drivers and mechanics to cleaners and office staff - by getting people who need to travel into work, particularly those employed by the NHS, they are making a huge contribution to tackling the virus, preventing its further spread, and ultimately saving lives.”