Coronavirus: Manchester Metrolink 'may be mothballed without bail out'

  • Published
Metrolink trams at St Peter's Square, ManchesterImage source, Getty Images
Image caption,
Buses and trains have received a government bail out but tram systems have yet to be offered support

Manchester's tram network could be mothballed during the virus lockdown unless it is propped up by government funding, mayor Andy Burnham has said.

Mr Burnham said the Metrolink service was "losing millions of pounds a month", with passenger numbers down 95% since the outbreak began.

Buses and trains have received cash support but no help has been offered for tram systems yet, he said.

The Department for Transport said it was "working on the best solution".

Mr Burnham said: "We are losing millions of pounds every month trying to run a public transport service in these circumstances.

"If there is no deal from the government in the way they have bailed out bus and the rail sectors, we are going to face the very difficult decision soon of whether to mothball the Metrolink."

In a joint press conference with Liverpool City Region mayor Steve Rotheram, who said the Merseyrail system was losing £1.2m a week, Mr Burnham said a deal was needed in "days rather than weeks".

He called for government support for cities like Manchester and Liverpool to recover economically from the pandemic.

The Department for Transport announced a package of measures to support rail firms last month including suspending all franchise agreements to avoid train companies collapsing.

A spokesperson said: "We are aware of the challenges faced by light rail operators, and continue to work closely with the sector and local authorities on the best solution for passengers."

Related Internet Links

The BBC is not responsible for the content of external sites.