Liverpool City Region Metro Mayor Steve Rotheram is joining forces with his Greater Manchester counterpart, Andy Burnham, to call for urgent Government support for local transport. Tony McDonough reports
Merseyrail is currently losing £1,2m a week due to the coronavirus shutdown. Metro Mayor Steve Rotheram has revealed.
On Tuesday, Mr Rotheram joined forces with his Greater Manchester counterpart, Andy Burnham, to call for urgent Government support for their respective local transport networks to ensure they can continue to operate.
Mr Burnham said Metrolink tram revenues were down from £6m a month to just £1m which, he added, was simply not sustainable. He warned Metrolink may have to be mothballed without Government support.
Both Merseyrail and Metrolink are running on reduced timetables but both regions have tried to ensure there is a reliable public transport system in place to help NHS staff and other key workers get to and from their jobs.
In normal times Merseyrail, which is overseen by the Liverpool City Region Combined Authority, would carry more than 100,000 passengers a day. Mr Rotheram said numbers had fallen by 83% since the lockdown came into force.
He added: “On public transport we need help. We’re not getting support locally on Merseyrail. We’re just about keeping our heads above water and keeping Merseyrail services going. We’re losing £1.2m a week in the combined authority area. We will need Government to address some of these problems.
“Our Government has helped nationally on rail, we need a local settlement. We are determined to keep services running. We reduced services so we can help a core going for essential workers.”
Both Mr Rotheram and Mr Burnham are calling for an intra-city public transport service ahead of a possible staged emergence from lockdown over the next few weeks, which would require central Government support.
Mr Burnham said: “We will have to run with social distancing, probably for months. We need support. I appeal to government to work with us. We can’t lose £5m a month. The Government needs to help us. We’re talking about a deal in days, not weeks.”