£2.1 million of emergency funding to keep West Midlands Metro on track

West Midlands Metro will receive a cash boost of more than £2 million in a bid to protect the "critical" service.

West Midlands Metro
West Midlands Metro

Government chiefs said the £2.1m support package will keep the tram system running to help frontline staff get to work.

It comes as part of a wider £30m funding package for metro services across England announced by the Department for Transport.

Transport Secretary Grant Shapps said:  "The best way to stop the spread of the virus and protect the NHS is to stay at home – but protecting key transport services is vital to enable essential travel.

"The Metro in the West Midlands has successfully served key areas and communities through Birmingham and connected the city to Wolverhampton for more than two decades.

"It plays a crucial role in getting NHS staff and emergency services to work - and it is only right that we offer operators support during this time of national crisis.

"This package of support will help ensure light rail services continue to operate at this difficult time."

The funding, which covers a period of three months and will be backdated from mid-March, comes amid a reduction in use.

West Midlands Metro has seen a "sharp decline" in passenger numbers with people following Government guidance – which has also resulted in a "significant" drop in income.

The package of support has been tailored to Midland Metro Ltd to ensure it can continue to run the service.

It follows an announcement by the Department for Transport which has stepped in to sustain necessary rail services across England.

Normal franchise agreements have been suspended – with all revenue and cost risk being transferred Government for a limited period.

It is also offering free refunds to anyone holding an advance ticket to ensure passengers are not out of pocket.

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