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Metrolink could be mothballed, Mayor warns

METRO Mayors in the north west of England are urging the Government to provide emergency funding to local transport systems within ‘days, not weeks’.

The Mayor of Greater Manchester Andy Burnham has warned that Metrolink trams in his city are losing more than £5 million a month. Although services have been maintained for key workers, revenue from passengers has fallen dramatically as a result of the lockdown. He said: ‘On the Metrolink we get £6 million a month, now we’re down to well below £1 million.’

He continued: ‘We can’t lose £5 million a month. The Government needs to help us. We’re talking about a deal in days, not weeks.’

His colleague in the Liverpool City Region, Metro Mayor Steve Rotheram, is also facing a financial crisis on the Merseyrail system. He said: ‘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 £1.2 million a week in the combined authority area. We will need government to address some of these problems.’

Both Mayors have renewed their pleas for more devolved control.

Mr Rotheram said: ‘Government should work with mayors and leaders of the core cities. Ask us, because we know our areas best.’

Mr Burnham added: ’If we are to receive a small amount of support we would have to pare back services. We should be building back up, not mothballing.”

‘We should capture the benefits of the time we have been living through. Let’s keep the clean air. Help businesses change their vans to electric vehicles. Keep people exercising, prioritise cyclists and pedestrians over the car and keep the benefits of home working. These are things the country should do anyway. Let’s get on with them now.

‘I support what the Government is doing. We have a gargantuan task ahead of us. Every part of society and the country will need to pull together. We should use the time well and we need to plan for recovery.’

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