Sheffield Supertram's emergency funding runs out next week, warns metro mayor Dan Jarvis

Emergency funding to keep trams running in South Yorkshire is due to run out in one week's time unless the Government steps in, metro mayor Dan Jarvis has warned.

The Sheffield City Region was handed £1.3m in May to support the Sheffield Supertram after lockdown measures resulted in a dramatic drop in passenger numbers.

But at a meeting of the area's combined authority today, Mr Jarvis said he was concerned that the emergency funding "that is keeping our tram services running" was due to expire on Monday August 3. He said there was currently no indication from the government yet further support is coming.

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Mr Jarvis said: "I want to assure members and the public that I am pressing government for further funding, along with other metro mayors.

"Clearly we do have to plan for a scenario where we don't get the financial support that we need. We should take nothing for granted.

"Our ability to intervene in the market is limited. We do not have the resources and the truth is the only public body capable of managing a national crisis, like this is central government, long term sustained structural funding of the network is what is required."

It is understood that the Department for Transport is currently reviewing the case for support of light rail schemes beyond August 3.

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Sheffield Supertram heading up Church Street in Sheffield. Pic by Chris EtchellsSheffield Supertram heading up Church Street in Sheffield. Pic by Chris Etchells
Sheffield Supertram heading up Church Street in Sheffield. Pic by Chris Etchells

In May, the government announced £29m to keep trams and metro trains running for key workers for 12 more weeks, after a downturn in passenger numbers due to lockdown.

The funding was split between the Tyne and Wear Metro, Manchester Metrolink, Sheffield Supertram, Midlands Metro and Nottingham Express Transit systems.

Announcing the scheme, Transport Secretary Grant  Shapps said protecting key transport was "vital".

The various light rail systems play "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," he said.

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Reacting at the time, Sheffield Supertram's managing director Tim Bilby said the service would play a key part in the region's recovery.

"It will be vital that the system has the resources it needs to seek to restore the service towards pre-pandemic levels when there will likely still be conditions which will change how people live and travel," he said.

The Sheffield Supertram is a light rail tram network, covering Sheffield and Rotherham. The infrastructure is owned by the South Yorkshire Passenger Transport Executive, with Stagecoach responsible for the operation and maintenance of rolling stock.

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